Tudor links in the Midlands

View of Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire, from the gatehouse

Several of the places we care for in the Midlands have strong links to Tudor times.

Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire

From humble beginnings, Bess of Hardwick married four progressively richer husbands to reach the top of society and was one of the most talked-about celebrities of the Tudor era.
 
She served in the royal household as a lady-in-waiting to Elizabeth I and later tried to position her granddaughter, Arbella Stuart, as successor to the childless queen. She created Hardwick in the late 16th century.
 

Canons Ashby, Northamptonshire

 
The Elizabethan manor of Canons Ashby is built from the remains of a medieval Augustinian priory. The small priory church is all that remains following the dissolution of the monasteries.
 
The priory was suppressed in 1536 and granted to Sir Francis Bryan, a courtier and diplomat in the court of Henry VIII who was related to Anne Boleyn.
 

Baddesley Clinton, Warwickshire

Henry Ferrers inherited Baddesley Clinton from his great-grandfather. Born in the reign of Edward VI, he then lived through the reigns of Mary I, Elizabeth I and James I.
 
He spent long periods away from the house during which it was rented by the Catholic Vaux sisters and became a secret meeting place for Jesuit priests.
 
Three priest holes were created to conceal them in the event of searches by priest-hunters known as pursuivants.
 

Charlecote Park, Warwickshire

Legend has it that Shakespeare was caught poaching on land belonging to the Lucy family of Charlecote Park.
 
He was supposedly brought in front of Sir Thomas Lucy, Justice of the Peace, in the Great Hall. It's said that Shakespeare took his revenge by portraying Sir Thomas as Justice Shallow in The Merry Wives of Windsor.
 
Elizabeth I stayed in 1572 while on royal progress – the porch was added to commemorate the visit.
 

Coughton Court, Warwickshire

The owners of Coughton Court, the Throckmorton family, were connected to the Tudor court.
 
Katherine Vaux, who married Sir George Throckmorton, was the aunt of Henry VIII’s sixth and last wife Catherine Parr. Bess Throckmorton, daughter of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, secretly married Sir Walter Raleigh.
 
Following the Reformation, many of the Throckmortons refused to accept the new Protestant faith and were persecuted during Elizabeth I’s reign.