The history of Sudeley Castle & Gardens has spanned 1,000 years, though one of the most fascinating and turbulent eras it saw was that of the Tudors.
Of all the Tudor castles in England, Sudeley is the only private castle in England to have a queen buried within the grounds. The last of Henry VIII’s six wives, Katherine Parr, lived and died in the castle, where she still remains today entombed in a beautiful 15th century church found within the award-winning gardens.
Explore one of the best Tudor castles in England
Tudor enthusiasts can find out more about the Tudors at Sudeley in the castle’s fascinating exhibitions. The Six Wives Exhibition is housed in the 15th century West Wing and houses replica Tudor costumes from Dr. David Starkey’s TV series ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII’, alongside information about the era.
The Katherine Parr Exhibition showcases rare copies of original books written by Katherine Parr, the first queen to have her own work published. The exhibition also features her love letters to Thomas Seymour and the eye-witness account of the discovery of her body at Sudeley in 1782. These, together with items taken from her tomb, help to illustrate Dr. David Starkey’s film ‘The Life and Loves of Katherine Parr, Queen of England and Mistress of Sudeley’, which is shown alongside the exhibition.
Why Sudeley is one of the best Tudor castles to visit
A special Tudor Physic Garden makes Sudeley a real delight for history fans. The garden, part of the new Herb Garden Walk, has been developed to pay homage to the ancient wisdoms of Sudeley’s former inhabitants.
The Tudors would have had a productive physic garden at Sudeley to provide the household with culinary and medicinal plants. Elizabeth, Lady Ashcombe, who owns Sudeley Castle led on the project, researching the vast knowledge of herbal healing from many cultures, stretching back in recorded history over 4000 years. Today the interest in natural remedies has been steadily re-emerging and Sudeley’s gardening team is very excited about the range of traditional plants they tend in the new garden.
The History of the Tudors at Sudeley
Tudor history at Sudeley is rich thanks to its royal connections, and can be explored in greater detail inside the castle.
Following the Wars of the Roses, the new monarch Henry VII granted Sudeley Castle to his uncle, Jasper Tudor, who held it until his death in 1495 when, as he left no children, it reverted back to the monarch.
On ascending the throne in 1509, Sudeley Castle & Gardens became one of King Henry VIII’s royal residences. He and Anne Boleyn visited the castle in July 1535. The King met with Thomas Cromwell at Winchcombe Abbey to plan the dissolution of the monasteries, and Anne Boleyn saw the visit as an opportunity to investigate the relic of Holy blood at nearby Hailes Abbey.
Following King Henry VIII’s death in 1547 it became the property of his son, King Edward VI, who then granted Sudeley to his uncle, Thomas Seymour. Thomas married Katherine Parr (Henry VIII’s 6th wife and widow) and moved into Sudeley Castle accompanied by their ward, Lady Jane Grey.
On the 30th August 1548, 36 year old Katherine Parr gave birth to a daughter, Mary, but died seven days later. She is buried in the chapel of St. Mary at Sudeley.
Find out more on your visit to one of the best Tudor castles in England!