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The Gatehouse

Sudeley Castle is a castle located near Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, England. It dates from the 10th century, but the inhabited portion is chiefly Elizabethan. The castle has a notable garden, which is designed and maintained to a very high standard. The chapel, St. Mary's Sudeley, is the burial place of Queen Catherine Parr (c. 1512–1548), the sixth wife of King Henry VIII, and contains her marble tomb. Unusually for a castle chapel, St Mary's Sudeley is actually part of the local Church of England parish.

Contents

History

Part of Sudeley Castle from its gardens

Sudeley Castle was established prior to 1066, and recorded in the Domesday Book. A complete chronological list of the owners of the castle can be found here:[1]

In 1469, Edward IV of England confiscated the castle from its owner, Ralph Boteler, 1st Baron Sudeley and gave it to his brother, who later became Richard III of England. After Richard's death at the Battle of Bosworth, it passed to the new king, Henry VII, who then gave it to his uncle, Jasper Tudor, Duke of Bedford. By the time Henry VIII of England succeeded, the castle was the property of the Crown again. It had been visited by Henry in 1535, with his second wife Anne Boleyn, but had been empty and unattended for some time.

When King Henry died, the castle became the property of his son, Edward VI of England, who gave it to his uncle, Thomas Seymour who was made Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley and married the King's stepmother, Catherine Parr. During this time Thomas began to regenerate the castle for Catherine's use, but only one room that he had built remains today. Seymour and Catherine moved into the castle and brought with them ladies to attend on the Queen Dowager, as well as gentlemen of the household and Yeomen of the guard.

Engraving of Sudeley Castle

The castle was then home to over 100 people. Famous figures who came to live in the castle were Lady Jane Grey, who was a ward of Seymour's, as well as the teenage Lady Elizabeth Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII and second wife, Anne Boleyn.

Catherine died after she had given birth to a daughter, Mary, at Sudeley Castle and was buried in its St. Mary's Chapel. Her grave was discovered in 1728 after the castle and the chapel had been left in ruins by the English Civil War. She was later reinterred by the Rector of Sudeley in 1817.

Seymour's ambitions led to his being arrested and beheaded; after which, Sudeley Castle became the property of Catherine's brother, William Parr, who was the Marquess of Northampton. Parr was stripped of his property and title after being involved in the failed attempt to make Lady Jane Grey Queen of England.

In 1554, Queen Mary gave Sudeley Castle to John Brydges, 1st Baron Chandos, and it remained as his property throughout the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Elizabeth was entertained three times at Sudeley Castle, which included a spectacular three-day feast in 1592 to celebrate the anniversary of the defeat of the Spanish Armada.

Current ownership

The knot garden of Sudeley Castle

The current owners are Elizabeth, Lady Ashcombe, wife of Henry Edward Cubitt, 4th Baron Ashcombe, who owns 50 percent of the equity, and her two children — film-producer Henry (married to Hawaiian model Lili Maltese at the castle in 1998) and Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst — who each own 25 percent.[2] This situation arose when the children's father, and Elizabeth's first husband, Mark Dent-Brocklehurst died intestate in 1972.[3]

Visiting the Castle

The castle itself has guided tours three days a week.

Cultural references

  • BBC Four featured an investigation into the castle on 27 June 2007 titled Crisis At The Castle.[4] This detailed the turmoil associated with managing the castle within three sets of owners and their families.[5]
  • Sudeley is regarded by many as the model for Blandings Castle in the novels by P. G. Wodehouse [6]. The adaptation for BBC television of Wodehouse's Heavy Weather (1995) was filmed there.

Recovering from the Crisis

The BBC's investigation, Crisis at the Castle, highlighted the problems of running a family home as a visitor attraction. Closing the castle to the general public on some weekdays meant that visitors were disheartened when embarking on their day trips, and resulted in a dramatic fall in visitor numbers in the three years leading up to the creation of the program.

References

External links

Coordinates: 51°56′50″N 1°57′22″W / 51.94722°N 1.95611°W / 51.94722; -1.95611

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Simple English

[[File:|thumb|Gate of Sudeley Castle]]

Sudeley Castle was mainly built in 1441 by Ralph Boteler, who had the castle confiscated by Edward IV of England. Edward gave Sudeley Castle to his brother, who later became Richard III of England, who then gave it to his uncle Jasper Tudor, Duke of Bedford.

By the time Henry VIII of England succeeded, the castle was the property of the Crown again. It had been visited by Henry in 1535, with his second wife Anne Boleyn, but had been empty and unattended for some time. When Henry died the castle became the property of his son, Edward VI of England, who gave it to his uncle, Thomas Seymour. Thomas was made Lord of Sudeley and married the King's stepmother, Catherine Parr. During this time Thomas began to regenerate the castle for Catherine's use, but only one room that he had built remains today.

Seymour and Catherine moved into the castle and brought with them ladies to attend on the Queen Dowager, as well as gentlemen of the household and Yeomen of the guard. The castle was then home to over 100 people. Another famous figure who came to live in the castle of Lady Jane Grey, who was a ward of Seymour's, as well as the young Elizabeth I of England.

Catherine died after she had given birth to a daughter, Mary, at Sudeley Castle and was buried in its St. Mary's Chapel. Her grave was discovered in 1728 after the castle and the chapel had been left in ruins by the English Civil War. She was later reinterred by the Rector of Sudeley in 1817.

Seymour's ambitions led to him being arrested and beheaded, after which Sudeley Castle became the property of Catherine's brother William Parr, who was the Marquess of Nothampton. Parr was stripped of his property and titled after being involved in the failed attempt to make Lady Jane Grey Queen of England.

In 1554 Mary I of England gave Sudeley Castle John Brydges, Lord Chandos and it remained as his property throughout the reign of Elizabeth I of England. Elizabeth was entertained three times at Sudeley Castle, which including a spectacular feast in 1592 to celebrate the anniversary of the defeat of the Spanish Armada.


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