Have you got a hankering to check out a slice of Tudor History?
One of the best things about living in England is the sheer volume of surviving historical sites that remain intact and open to the public.
The Tudors were profligate builders during their time in power. It was an era of relative prosperity for the rulers of the time, so there was plenty of funds available for both the crown and the powerful noblemen to make their mark upon England’s architectural history.
Although many of these grand manor halls (like Henry VIII’s Nonsuch Palace) did not survive to this day, a surprising amount of these constructions have stood the test of time and are still open to visitors, despite the Tudor period having ended over 400 years ago.
By visiting one of these historical sites of interest you can put your knowledge of Tudor history into context and gain a better understanding of what life was like back then:
Where better to appreciate the full weight of our English history than at the place where all of our monarchs have been crowed for nearly 1000 years?
Construction began on the Abbey in 1245 under the orders of King Henry III, but the building itself wasn’t completed until well into the 16th Century. Since 1560, the building has only been an Abbey by name, taking on the status of a Royal Peculiar which means that it exists under the direct jurisdiction of the monarch, rather than the Church of England. 16 royal weddings have taken place there since it’s building, not to mention the numerous members of royalty and nobility that have been interred there over the centuries.
Check out the Westminster Abbey site for more details on booking tickets and opening times.
Tower of London
There are few historical landmarks in England that carry the same amount of cultural heft as the Tower of London – this historical castle dates back to the 11th century, but it was the Tudor times when the Tower saw the most use. Queen Elizabeth I herself was imprisoned there for a month following accusations made her against in the wake of Wyatt’s rebellion against Mary I. Other notable prisoners include Sir Walter Raleigh and Elizabeth Throckmorton.
Despite the Tower’s reputation of being a place of executions, only seven people were executed there before the 20th Century. Executions were more likely to take place at the top of Tower Hill where over 100 people lost their lives during the course of 400 years.
Booking ahead is advised, so ensure that you check out the site first before making any plans.
Away from the fractured politics and bloody reputation of Tudor London lies Speke Hall, which sits on the banks of the River Mersey. A classically framed Tudor home which was restored during the 19th century; the architects took great risks when designing Speke Hall, making space for long corridors with rooms leading off – a real innovation for the time.
This manor house has seen significant changes over it’s 400 year history, from being the home of rich catholic family, the Noriss’, to lying empty to being used as a cow shed, of all things! The National Trust now maintains the property.
Take a look at their website here to plan your trip and explore a part of Tudor history.