Thornbury Castle: conference venue of distinction

Jul 10 2014, 17:52 IST
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Thornbury Castle Thornbury Castle
SummaryThornbury Castle in Gloucestershire is the only Tudor castle in England that is operating as a hotel. It is today an exclusive venue for high-end MICE events.

the celebrated British afternoon tea.

A slice of history

Thornbury Castle was built by Edward Stafford, the third Duke of Buckingham who was the most premier duke of England in his time - he was the second wealthiest man in the country after King Henry VIII. It is a Grade 1 Star building. According to local amateur historian Valerie Quinn, it was a big manor house, but the duke wanted to build a palace within the castle. So he applied to Henry VIII in 1510. The license was granted and the work was started. There were 600 masons to start with. Most of the doorways and fireplaces are original, but the castle did fall into disrepair and in ruins. So there are no original doors and the original glass was taken. The Stafford knot is the main emblem of the Stafford family and it can be found at many places. “A single wing was rebuilt in 1824 to 1830. It was a fortified castle. One side of the castle is the church. The restoration is redone with the same material with which it was built. The chimneys are the finest examples of Tudor chimneys in the world,” she informs.

King Henry VIII visited the castle the first time in 1535 with Anne Boleyn. He stayed here for 10 days hunting, playing tennis and jousting. The second time he came here in 1541. “Every summer the king left London and travelled to different parts of the country showing themselves to the lords, the aristocracy and the people. There were no photographs so it was important that the king be known and seen. By that time Boleyn was beheaded and the king was married to her cousin Catherine Howard. It is not known whether she came with him during his second visit. People come to the castle from Japan, Russia, Indonesia. All these people come here because he stayed here,” adds Quinn.

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