Sudeley Castle and Katherine Parr: Travel Back in Time

Katherine Parr and Sudeley Castle

Sudeley Castle, Former Home of Katherine Parr,

Sudeley Castle is located in the heart of the Cotswolds, and will be an immediate favorite for any Tudor History fan. Queen Katherine Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII and stepmother to Mary, Edward, and Elizabeth, is buried here. In acknowledgment of this Tudor link, Sudeley has several Tudor-related exhibits. The costumes in the Six Wives exhibit are detailed. Each of Henry’s wives is featured and each one is wearing a replica of what she would have worn. What I found unique was the care and detail that went into each dress. Each dress was made using the material from the country where it originally would have come from, and was dyed using the same type of dye from the era in which the dress would have originated.

Anne Boleyn and Anne of Cleves

As you can see, Anne Boleyn and Anne of Cleves both have dresses that look very different. As you pass the exhibit and go upstairs, you will see another replica of Queen Katherine Parr with her husband, Thomas Seymour, and the Young Elizabeth. A lock of Katherine Parr’s hair is also on display.

An interesting story is told if you take the tour (the only way to see the inside of the Sudeley castle – and I highly recommend it!) I had heard it told a bit differently but the gist of the information is the same. After Henry VIII and Cromwell (two peas in a pod) had finished, many churches had been destroyed. Katherine Parr’s tomb was lost to history. In the 1700s, a body was found encased in lead. When it was cut into, a woman’s corpse was found, still intact (flesh and hair). This was Katherine Parr. A few souvenirs, the lock of hair, for example, were taken. Eventually, the tomb as we see it today was erected for her.

Queen Katherine Parr's Tomb

Queen Katherine Parr's tomb

Sudeley castle is still lived in today, and a small portion of the medieval section is on the tour. The tour is well worth it. Many pictures of the current family are on display, and the tour guides are quite knowledgeable.

One part of the grounds at Sudeley Castle that was a must-see for me was the Queen’s Garden. Anne Boleyn planted a rose here while on a trip with Henry VIII. Katherine Parr, Lady Jane Grey, and Queen Elizabeth I have all walked in this garden, according to the guide. It is quite lovely.

Sudeley Castle, like Berkeley Castle, was around for much of England’s history. Built by Ralph Boteler on its present site, Sudeley has watched much of British history pass through its doors.

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