Houses packed with history star in Wolf Hall
Lacock Abbey and Montacute House were among the Tudor houses where BAFTA-winning BBC drama was filmed. The six-part serial was adapted from Hilary Mantel’s novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.
Charting the meteoric rise of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s closest advisor, places we look after were transformed for the TV series into Cromwell’s childhood and later homes and Cardinal Wolsey’s seat at York Place/Whitehall. Historic houses we care for also doubled as Wolf Hall itself and Greenwich Palace.
Filming on location leant an authenticity to Wolf Hall for its producer Mark Pybus. ‘The advantages of filming in a historic location are massive,’ he said. ‘It also helps the actors, if they’re stepping into the buildings that Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell walked around in it helps bring a realness to the project.’
‘The National Trust has been very supportive and around 40% of our overall shoots have been at Trust places,’ he added. ‘It will be a big part of the overall programme, the locations that people see.’
Location fees for filming at places we look after help us to continue our work caring for historic houses and other special spaces. Thanks to Wolf Hall we’ll be able to carry on protecting the six locations involved in the BBC drama for future generations to enjoy.
Locations used for filming Wolf Hall
Montacute represents Greenwich Palace, Henry VIII’s main London seat and the site of Anne Boleyn’s arrest, in Wolf Hall. The Elizabethan mansion’s extensive grounds provided a spectacular backdrop to jousting sequences and hosted the dazzling Royal Tent. Montacute has previously been used for filming for The Libertine and Sense and Sensibility.
Stay on location at Odcombe Lodge or South Lodge
Free from collections and furniture, the spacious interiors of Barrington Court were dressed for Wolf Hall as York Place/Whitehall, the home of Cromwell’s mentor and friend Cardinal Wolsey. Saved from ruin and restored by the Lyle family in the 1920s, the Tudor manor house features the Long Gallery which is 40 paces long.
Stay on location at 1 Strode House or nearby at Tintintull House
Lacock Abbey’s exteriors represent Wolf Hall, the Seymour family seat, in the TV series. Founded in the 13th century as an Augustinian nunnery, Henry VIII sold the abbey to one of his courtiers, Sir William Sharington, who converted it into a house following the dissolution of the monasteries. Lacock Abbey has previously appeared in Cranford, The Other Boleyn Girl and the Harry Potter films.
Stay on location at 2 High Street
Chastleton’s small stone courtyard provided the location for the dramatic scenes from Cromwell’s miserable childhood in Putney in Wolf Hall, while interiors represent Wolf Hall itself, the Seymour family seat. Built by a rich wool merchant between 1607 and 1612, the house remained relatively unchanged for nearly 400 years.
For Wolf Hall the interiors of Great Chalfield Manor stood in for Austin Friars, Thomas Cromwell’s home, a happy place teeming with in-laws and wards, nieces and nephews and painters. A moated manor house built between 1465 and 1480 for Thomas Tropenell, it has been used to film Lark Rise to Candleford, The Other Boleyn Girl and Tess of the D’Urbervilles.
Horton Court also doubled up as Austin Friars, Cromwell’s adult home, for Wolf Hall. The 16th century manor house in the southern Cotswolds was built from the remains of a Norman hall.
Please note Horton Court is not open to the public.
Locations featured in the novels
Built for Lord Sandys, Henry VIII's Lord Chamberlain, the Vyne is mentioned in Wolf Hall during a conversation between Thomas Cromwell and Mary Tudor. In the book Cromwell tells Mary that her father the King intends to visit Lord Sandys to see his ‘handsome new gallery’ which remains as Henry VIII would have seen it today.
Sutton House in Hackney was built in 1535 by Ralph Sadler, who rose to be a prominent member of Henry VIII’s court and also served Edward VI and Elizabeth I. Ralph Sadler is an important character in Wolf Hall (and its sequel Bring Up the Bodies) and is educated as a member of Cromwell’s household where he meets his wife Helen Barre.
Other films featuring our places
Beatrix Potter was a strong supporter of the National Trust, so it was fitting that this biographical film should be filmed at the places where she lived and worked, now cared for by us.