Spring is in the air at Sudeley, and it’s a time of new beginnings, including the start of a new season here at my enchanting home. Often when walking around the castle and gardens with my dog, Tulah, visitors come up to me and say how much they have enjoyed seeing my lovely home, or other nice words to that effect. That is very satisfying to hear because Sudeley is very much a family home, and not a stately home. My children and I inhabit the castle as one family, divided into three self-contained living areas. My son Henry and my daughter Mollie, together with their families and pets, have their own apartments and are often here on weekends and holidays. You may meet some of my grandchildren working in the Visitor Centre and gardens during the school holidays.
I am the most permanent family resident and have lived in the castle for a very long time. We are proud that our family has managed to hold the title of Sudeley for longer than any other in its long history, although by many ancient estates it is a relatively short time. Sudeley seemed to change hands alarmingly often in the past, often with calamitous consequences for the owners!
The castle is open to the public, with exhibitions of art treasures and history including some of our private rooms. The grand state rooms that you might expect to see in a castle of this importance were destroyed by Oliver Crowell in the Civil War their beautiful haunting ruins are now the backdrop to Sudeley’s romantic gardens.
You will see as you read its history and wander through the rooms and gardens that the castle has gone through many owners and has had many ‘lives’. This is the most fascinating aspect of Sudeley, and to be truthful we would need a castle of almost twice the size to tell you about all the intrigues and people who have lived here in its 1,000 year history. However, our well informed guides will enlighten you on more of our story as you walk around.
Its Victorian period is important as it was the Dent family and particularly Emma Brocklehurst, forbears of the present family, who over two generations rescued the castle from the destruction of the Civil War. They restored the castle to its present habitable state, uncovered its intriguing history and forming much of the historic collection which you see today. However, this is not a static story, as new and fascinating discoveries of Sudeley’s past are constantly coming to light through recent academic and archaeological research.
In my blog I will try and keep you up to date with our news and new findings. This season we are delighted to welcome more of King Richard III, one of the castle’s past owners. We are grateful for the loan from Leicester University of the copy of the skeleton found under the car park which caused such a sensation.
Richard III, Henry VIII, Katherine Parr, Elizabeth I Charles I….people often ask me what it is like to live in the footsteps of such luminaries amidst such a dramatic backdrop of history. It is extraordinary, and hard to describe, but my mission is to share as much of Sudeley’s intriguing story with you in hope that you too may share my fascination and feel the echoes of its evocative past.
Elizabeth, Lady Ashcombe