1502 Progress: Beverston Castle, Gloucestershire
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1502 Progress: Beverston Castle, Gloucestershire

If it were not for a single entry in the Queen’s Chamber Books, dated 27 September 1502, when payment was made to Robert Alyn for preparing lodgings for the Queen (see the quote above), we would be none the wiser about the royal visit to Beverston Castle. This would undoubtedly be our loss, as this lovely location has virtually disappeared from our awareness as a place of significance for those following the Tudor trail.

The main reason for this paucity of information is probably that the visit was fleeting. After five days resting at Berkeley Castle, the royal entourage was on the move and pressing on to reach the next notable destination on the geists: Fairford, where they were to be guests of the wealthy wool merchant Sir Edmund Tame. In a subsequent post, we will hear more about the Tame family and this fascinating location. 

However, even this transitory stay gives us ample excuse to bring Beverston back into the spotlight and discover its unassuming charms.

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The 1502 Progress: Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire
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The 1502 Progress: Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire

The next significant stop on the 1502 progress after Woolaston was Berkeley Castle, where the royal couple stayed for five days from 29 August to 4 September.

Berkeley Castle still stands largely untouched since it was set in stone during the eleventh, twelfth and fourteenth centuries. 

Berkeley Castle is highly distinctive in appearance. Built on a typical Norman motte and bailey design during the early and mid-medieval period, it has been constructed from local pink, grey, and yellow Severn sandstone, with its roofs mainly made of Cotswold stone, slate, or lead. 

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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: The Vineyard at Over, Gloucestershire
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The 1502 Progress: The Vineyard at Over, Gloucestershire

The 1502 Progress fo Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, continued…
Having stayed overnight in Coberley Hall, the royal party was again on the move. As we read in the above quote, their destination was the Abbot of Gloucester’s fine manor house, which stood on a raised plateau west of Gloucester. The house was known as ‘The Vineyard’ because of the ancient vines cultivated on its terraces since at least the thirteenth century…

The 1502 Progress: Coberley Hall, Gloucestershire
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The 1502 Progress: Coberley Hall, Gloucestershire

John Felde gromes [grooms] of the Quenes chambre for thaire costes wayting upon the Quenes joyelles [jewels] from Langley to Northlache [Northleach] from Northlache to Coberley from Coberley to the Vineyarde from the Vyneyarde to Flexley Abbey from Flexley Abbey to Troye and from Troye to Ragland by the space of vj dayes…
Privy Purse Expenses of Elizabeth of York, 2 September 1502.

Just as with Northleach, the only way we know that Elizabeth and Henry travelled through Coberley on the 1502 progress is on account of an entry into Elizabeth’s Privy Purse, recording money paid to the Grooms of the Queen’s Chamber for their part in transporting her jewels from place to place alongside Elizabeth’s household.

This blog details the history of Coberley Hall and the royal visit of 1502.

The 1502 Progress of Henry VII & Elizabeth of York
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The 1502 Progress of Henry VII & Elizabeth of York

Welcome to the 1502 progress!
For this journey, we are principally following in the footsteps of Elizabeth of York during the 1502 summer progress. It would be Elizabeth’s last summer on Earth. She would die shortly after giving birth to a baby girl the following February.
The progress comes on the back of several deeply personal losses for Elizabeth and Henry VII, including the death of Prince Arthur just three months earlier.
Thus, we see an unusual progress and one the looks rather more like a trip down memory lane than the usual state affair, as the King and queen grapple with their grief.
IN this progress we will be heading from Woodstock in Oxfordshire to Raglan Castle and back again. ready to join me on progress?

The 1502 Progress: Tudor Northleach, Gloucestershire
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The 1502 Progress: Tudor Northleach, Gloucestershire

Northleach was the second documented stop on the 1502 progress of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York after leaving the Old Manor at Woodstock ….There were six, or perhaps, seven stages that broke up the journey from Woodstock in Oxfordshire to their destination, Raglan Castle in South-East Wales. This suggests a rhythm of one day of travelling followed by one day of rest. This makes sense when Elizabeth’s pregnancy and recent illness.

But why did the King choose to rest in Northleach – the answer to that question is explored in this post