Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sudeley Castle, home of a Queen

After Scotland my friend June and I headed south to the Cotswolds for three full days of sightseeing and walking. We based ourselves in the beautiful village of Broadway and set off on our explorations from there. The first day we were there we decided to visit the neighbouring town of Winchcombe which was a short bus ride away.

Winchcombe attracts many tourists because of it's location which is on several footpaths as well as Sudeley castle which for a while, was the home of Katherine Parr who was the last wife of King Henry VIII.

We immediately headed to Sudeley Castle.  This castle was built in the 15th century and is currently known for it's fabulous gardens. First we explored the gardens and chapel and then looked at exhibitions in the castle itself.  The castle is privately owned and inhabited so we could not explore the entire place as the state apartments weren't open that day to the public. (that's okay, an excuse to go back some day!)  I throughly enjoyed our are a few highlights.

The gatehouse to Sudeley Castle
Glorious gardens of Sudeley Castle
This kid was having fun rolling down the small incline.

Scenery around Sudeley castle

Chapel where Queen Katherine Parr is laid to rest

Front view of chapel of St Mary

Katherine Parr's tomb.  She died in 1548 days after giving birth to a daughter.  Her grave was discovered in the ruins of the former chapel and reinterred in 1792.  She was then moved to this tomb in 1817. 

Close up view of the entrance

Interior - Katherine's tomb is at the front by the alter on the left. 
Thought this was a cool shot in b/w!

Ruins of the original chapel

Fantastic scenery around the castle

More of the gardens

My friend June spotted this and told me about the grapes! 

One of the many flowers in the garden


Sudeley castle's ownership changed constantly and upon King Henry's VIII's death it was passed to his son Edward.  Edward gave ownership to his uncle Thomas Seymour. Katherine Parr married Thomas Seymour (brother of King Henry VII'Is third wife Jane Seymour)around six months after Henry VIII died in 1547 and the next year gave birth to a daughter Mary on the 30th of August, 1548 at the castle.  Six days later she died of puerperal fever.  Baby daughter Mary was abandoned by her father (who was executed for treason six months later) and raised by a friend of Katherine's.  There is no record of Mary's life past 1550 and it's assumed she died as a very young child.  Then again....there is no evidence such as a gravestone....checking on the internet there are all kinds of theories. 

Despite living there such a short time it is said that the ghost of Katherine Parr haunts Sudeley castle and is known as "The Woman in Green".  she roams the Queen's Garden and looks out a window.

I found Sudeley a very worthwhile and interesting place to visit! 

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