Thursday, July 10, 2008

Question from Kat - Castles, houses, excavations, etc.

What if any of the castles or estates from King Henry or Queen Elizabeth's time still exist? If so, what kind of condition are these historical sites in and are they still used for residence or kept in museum condition for people to visit? Also, have there ever been any excavations that have produced valuable and historical items of these eras? Thanks!


Lara said...

There are lots of places to visit that are partly or mostly from Tudor times. You can see photos from some that I've visited here:
but there are many more place out there. I'd suggest starting with English Heritage and the National Trust's websites: and
Some are also still property of the Crown so they are used as residences or for state business (like St. James', which as far as I know isn't open to the public?). The Historic Royal Palaces website, the Monarchy's website and the Royal Collection website will have info.

There are some places, like Nonsuch, that don't exist any more, but artifacts have been found during excavations. The British Museum has some artifacts from Nonsuch (I think?). I have a few photos, but I don't have them posted right now. I recently re-scanned all my photos from my various UK trips, but I haven't posted the new scans yet.

Anonymous said...

Palaces actually owned and used by Henry VIII and Elizabeth that still exist and can be visited today:

The Tower of London
Hampton Court Palace (west of London)
Windsor Castle (near Heathrow Airport)

Palaces they owned and used but that no longer exist:

Greenwich Palace (only remnants of it still exist, though much altered, as the Queen's House, the National Maritime Museum, and the Old Royal Naval College, all at Greenwich Park)

Whitehall Palace, London (burned in 1698, though the 17th century Banqueting Hall remains)

Richmond Palace, Richmond (demolished during the Commonwealth period of the 1650s)

Nonesuch Palace, Surrey (demolished in 1682)

Palace of Westminster, London (burned down in the 1830s, though the Jewel Tower and Medieval Great Hall survive, remainder rebuilt in 1840s and 1850s and now known unofficially as the Houses of Parliament)

The house that Elizabeth lived in for many years prior to her accession, Hatfield House, still exists and is still privately owned and lived in by the descendants of her chief minister, William Cecil. It can be visited today north of London, and is well worth the visit.

Anne Boleyn's family residence, Hever Castle, can be visited south of London and is in good condition.

Sudeley Castle, last residence of Katherine Parr, Henry VIII's sixth wife, still exists as a private residence but is open to the public.

Woburn Abbey, still owned and occupied by the descendants of Elizabeth's minister John Russell, is another that is well worth visiting.

Other large castles and palaces from Tudor times that are still owned and occupied by the direct descendants of their Tudor-era ancestors and that are open to the public include:
Arundel Castle (Dukes of Norfolk), Syon House in Richmond and Alnwick Castle in Northumberland (Dukes of Northumberland).
Even Althorp House, childhood home of Princess Diana, has its origins in the Tudor period and is still owned by direct descendants of its original Tudor-era owners.

Warwick Castle, originally owned by the Earls of Warwick, is now privately owned by a for-profit corporation and run as a tourist attraction/amusement park.

These are just the ones that I can think of off the top of my head. The list goes on and on, both for castles in good condition (such as Dover Castle) and those that are now largely ruins (Kenilworth).

Tabor1636 said...

The former home of the Duke of Buckingham (executed for treason during Henry VIII's reign)is now known as Thornbury Castle and operates as a very nice hotel. It is not really a true castle (it possesses minimal defenses) but is a fine Tudor country house. The property was acquired by Henry after the Duke's execution; Henry and Anne Boleyn stayed there in 1535.