Hever Castle: Tudor Day Trips From London.
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Hever Castle: Tudor Day Trips From London.

Today, Hever Castle is a quintessential fortified medieval manor house, nestled in the bottom of an idyllic, gently sloping valley. The setting makes the picture-perfect English postcard; sculpted lawns with pretty lily-covered moats; all around you, immaculately tended flower and herb gardens abound. We discover how the castle looked in Anne Boleyn’s day as we travel back to the sixteenth century…

The 1502 Progress: Woolaston, Gloucestershire
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The 1502 Progress: Woolaston, Gloucestershire

On 28 August, the Queen’s Chamber Books for Elizabeth of York records, ‘Itm the same day to the mariners that conveyed the Quenes grace over the Severn besides Chepstowe’. The temptation is to immediately conclude that a ferry conducted the King and Queen across the River Severn into England at the point where the current bridge spans the river, close to the foot of Chepstow Castle, where the royal couple had been lodged. While this might be true, further close inspection of a later entry in the Chamber Book (dated 27 September) clarifies that the Queen moved from Chepstow to ‘Walstone’ before arriving at the next stop: Berkeley Castle.

This entry is a retrospective payment made to ‘Robert Alyn for his costes prepayring logging for the Quene from Ragland to Chepstowe by the space of twoo dayes, from Chepstowe to Walstone, ij dayes, from Walstone to Berkeley, ij dayes.’…

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The 1502 Progress: Chepstow Castle, Monmouthshire
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The 1502 Progress: Chepstow Castle, Monmouthshire

After travelling for around four weeks, and lodging for a week at Raglan Castle, Elizabeth of York and Henry VII began their homebound journey.

Bordering Wales and England, Chepstow Castle sits atop of the cliffs overlooking the River Wye in Monmouthshire’s Wye Valley. it was the next stop on the 1502 progress.

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The 1502 Progress: Raglan Castle, Monmouthshire
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The 1502 Progress: Raglan Castle, Monmouthshire

Raglan Castle: Arrival and Family Ties

When Elizabeth and Henry left Troy after five days of hospitality, they had only a short seven-mile journey in a south-westerley direction to reach their next destination, Raglan Castle (or ‘Ragland’ as it was known until at least the early nineteenth century). 

An 1801 account of the road from Monmouth to Raglan describes the scenery the royal couple would have encountered as they began their journey, ‘On leaving Monmouth the road leads for near two miles thro’ a pleasant enclosed valley, skirted by gentle swellings, clothed or cultivated to their summits but gaining the higher ground at Wonastow. The view unfolds itself in a beautiful and extensive manner, over a rich and fertile country…’

The royal party arrived at Raglan Castle on or around 19 August. Their stay there was the apex and, in many ways, the centrepiece of the visit with its incumbent lord, the King’s loyal and erstwhile brother-in-arms, Sir Walter Herbert, playing host…

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The 1502 Progress: Troy House, Monmouth, Monmouthshire
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The 1502 Progress: Troy House, Monmouth, Monmouthshire

Having stayed at Flaxley Abbey overnight, the following day, on the 14 August, the royal cavalcade was on the move again. Troy House was around 15 miles southwest of Flaxley, just a few miles over the Welsh border. The medieval manor house belonged to the powerful Herbert family. It sat in a wide, shallow valley, close to the small village of Mitchel Troy and overlooking the town of Monmouth, which lay just one mile to the north. Here, a twelfth-century castle, in which Henry V had been born in 1386, dominated a strategically important convergence of two rivers: the River Monnow and the River Wye…

Thomas Wolsey’s Tudor Ipswich
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Thomas Wolsey’s Tudor Ipswich

In this episode, I head to South Yorkshire to visit Sheffield Manor Lodge. During the sixteenth century, Sheffield Manor Lodge was a luxurious hunting lodge belonging to the powerful Earls of Shrewsbury. Unfortunately, much of the building’s fabric has since been lost to time. The only structure to remain entirely intact is the Turret House, which sits alongside the ruins of the rest of the manor house.