Featured image of Sudeley Castle

The History of Sudeley Castle

LocationWinchcombe, Gloucestershire, England (Google Maps)
Open to VisitorsSeasonally
Owned byElizabeth, Lady Ashcombe, Henry Dent-Brocklehurst, and Molly Dent-Brocklehurst.
Official WebsiteSudeley Castle
Rooms AvailableYes (Weddings, Stays, Occasions, Filming)

Located in the parish of Sudeley, near the medieval market town of Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, England, Sudeley Castle is a ravishing structure. The castle is famous for being the only privately owned castle in the world that has a Queen buried on its grounds. The castle also has ten notable gardens and is visited hugely every year.

History

The initial origins of Sudeley Castle are not known. Sudeley is believed to have prospered under the royal patronage of the nearby kingdom, the estate of Winchcombe. By the 11th century, Sudeley grew into a manor house given to Princess Goda of England by her father, King Æthelred, on her wedding day. Princess Goda’s decedents held Sudeley for four centuries, and the first castle on the site was built during The Anarchy, otherwise known as an adulterine castle. However, the castle was destroyed by the forces of Empress Maltida and her brother Robert of Gloucester, Waleran de Beaumont, 1st Earl of Worcester, who ended up capturing the Sudeley Castle. A decade after The Anarchy War, the Sudeley family inherited the castle, but their name went bad when their son William de Tracy participated in the murder of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury.

By the 15th century, the name of the Sudeley family went extinct, and the Boteler family inherited the castle through the marital ties of Sudeley’s sister with their son. Ralph Boteler, who was also appointed to the Regency Council of King Henry VI in 1423, started the construction of the castle in 1443. Ralph did not take the entire castle construction per se but extensively renovated the Manor on the More and other parts of the castle. The castle turned out to be so beautiful that French Ambassador Jean du Bellay described it as more magnificent than Hampton Court. Ralph sold the Sudeley Castle and six other manors to the crown, and King Edward IV granted Sudeley to his brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester. He used it as a military base before the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471. After the death of Richard, Sudeley, as property of the crown, was transferred to King Henry VII, who gifted it to his uncle Jasper Tudor.

Perhaps Sudeley Castle is so famous in England because it has a queen buried within its grounds. Soon after the death of Henry VIII, Thomas Seymour married his widow Catherine Parr and settled her in Sudeley Castle. In 1548, Catherine died in Sudeley five days after giving birth to her daughter, Mary Seymour. There is a very long history of Sudeley in terms of wars and notable periods like The Anarchy, The English Civil War, and the Victorian Renaissance. The castle’s premises were also used during World War II.

Architecture

Aerial photo of Sudeley Castle
Aerial photo of Sudeley Castle”, by Wdejager, is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

The castle was designed and relaunched in 2018 and is currently owned and operated by Elizabeth, Lady Ashcombe, Henry Dent-Brocklehurst, and Molly Dent-Brocklehurst. The castle’s doors are open to the public seasonally, and some parts of it are offered to its guests as accommodation, but it still remains a private home to Elizabeth and Lady Ashcombe. The castle provides cottages with stunning views of Cotswold Hills to its guests. The properties are fully decked with towels and bedding, the kitchens are well-equipped, and there is also Wifi in all of the properties. Some of its cottages are 14 Vineyard Street, Almsbury Farmhouse, Anne Boleyn, Archers, Princess Elizabeth, Charles I, St. Kenelm, Queen Mary and, many more. The cottages are breathtaking and the highlight of what Sudeley Castle has got to offer.

The castle has ten magnificent gardens to explore, comprising other sub gardens like The Tithe Barn Garden, Queen’s Graden, etc. Each of these gardens is wonderful in itself, with uniquity and surprise left to be discovered by the visitor. The castle’s St. Mary’s Church is a beautiful destination as it has the coffin of Queen Catherine on display. The castle also hosts a great exhibition of its antiquities and consists of a pheasantry which is home to one of the largest public collections of rare and endangered species of pheasants from around the world.

Movie Features

Father Brown (2013)– Created by Rachel Flowerday and Tahsin Guner, the 2013 TV series is about a Catholic priest who has a knack for solving mysteries in his English village.

The White Princess (2017) The 2017 mini TV series is the story of the White Queen’s daughter, Elizabeth of York, and her marriage to the Lancaster victor, Henry VII.

Emma (1996)- The movie is based on Jane Austen’s famous book “Emma” and scenes have been shot at Sudeley Castle.

Tess of the D’Urbervilles (2008)A 2008 mini TV series is the story of Tess Durbeyfield, a low-born country girl whose family find they have noble connections.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who owns Sudeley Castle?

Located in Winchcombe, England, Sudeley Castle is owned by Elizabeth, Lady Ashcombe, Henry Dent-Brocklehurst Molly Dent-Brocklehurst. As of September 2019, BBC News referred to Lady Ashcombe as “the castle’s owner.”

Does anyone live in Sudeley Castle?

Sudeley Castle is partially open to its visitors for various occasions, while the other half of it remains Lady Ashcombe and Elizabeth’s private homes. The castle is operated by Elizabeth, Lady Ashcombe, and her son, daughter, and their families as of 2021.

Have you visited this castle before? If yes, why not share some beautiful pictures with us!
You can email us your pictures of the castle at castrumtocastle@gmail.com. Please use the name of the castle in the subject line.
Also, don’t forget to mention your name and social media profile link if you want the credits!

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