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Set against the beautiful backdrop of Cotswold Hills, Sudeley Castle is steeped in history. With royal connections spanning a thousand years, it has played an important role in the turbulent and changing times of England’s past.
The Castle was once home to Queen Katherine Parr, following her marriage to Sir Thomas Seymour, and Lady Jane Grey. Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Queen Elizabeth I all visited Sudeley. King Charles I stayed here and his nephew, Prince Rupert, established his headquarters at the Castle, during the Civil War.
Following its destruction by Cromwell’s troops, Sudeley lay neglected and derelict for two hundred years. However, its romantic situation and ruins attracted many visitors, including King George III. In 1837, Sudeley was bought by John and William Dent, of the Worcestershire glove making company of that name. They began an ambitious restoration programme which was continued by their nephew John Coucher Dent, who inherited the Castle in 1855, and his wife Emma, who threw herself enthusiastically into Sudeley’s restoration, at the same time forging strong links with the town of Winchcombe.
Today, Sudeley is the home of Lord and Lady Ashcombe and the Dent-Brocklehurst family. They are dedicated to its continued restoration and the regeneration of the gardens, with particular emphasis on conservation and sustainability.
Nearly 500 years after the Tudors first came to Sudeley Castle we are pleased to announce details of an enticing new exhibition. Six Wives at Sudeley Castle features costumes associated with David Starkey’s recent television series ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII’. Jane Stuart-Brown, costume designer from the series, has created a unique exhibition using specially commissioned mannequins, by sculptor John Robinson. Displayed through the Castle Apartments, these depict Henry VIII, his wives and other historical figures central to the Tudor period, many of whom have past connections with Sudeley.
Centred on the gentle slopes of the Cotswold Hills this area, officially designated 'an area of outstanding natural beauty', is famous for the tranquility and timelessness of it's villages like Broadway, Bourton on the Water, Bibury, and the city of Bath. Many have scarcely altered since they grew up on the prosperity of the medieval wool trade in the 14th and 15th centuries. This now makes the Cotswolds region one of the most treasured, toured, and vacationed in Britain for nowhere else will you see such uniformity and heart warming preservation on such a scale.
The Cotswolds take in parts of the english counties of Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, and Wiltshire; an area once given over entirely to sheep-farming. Many of the fine churches and manor houses owe their existence to the generosity of the wealthy medieval yeoman farmers and wool merchants. The dignified villages owe much of their charm from the use of the warm, honey-coloured limestone which was locally quarried by hand and used alike for humble weavers cottages, mansions, and churches. Never far from sight, numerous streams wind through the valleys and chatter alongside main streets.
The demise, and now the good fortune, of the area was due to the increasing manufacture of cloth in the 16th and 17th centuries leading to a forgotten wool industry. Hence the villages have undertaken no change for 300 years and are now to be marvelled at for their perfect preservation and beauty that only exists in this most unique of regions in the United Kingdom.
Tour some of the most beautiful areas and places to be found and to vacation, from the northern Cotswolds gate post of Broadway to the magnificent roman town and now Georgian city of Bath on the southern fringes. It will include Shakespeare's Stratford upon Avon, the king maker's castle of Warwick, and Winston Churchhill's childhood home, Blenheim Palace.