Untold stories revealed at The Vyne

The unique sound of a Tudor Lady Mass is just one of the new experiences we’re revealing at The Vyne in Hampshire this year. As the former Tudor ‘power house’ undergoes a £5.4 million roof project, we’re shining a spotlight on fascinating stories from its past.

One of these moments is the visit of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn to The Vyne in October 1535. Our famous 16th-century chapel is immersed in the authentic sounds of a Tudor Mass, as Henry VIII himself may have heard it on this occasion.

Stained glass windows at The Vyne's chapel with sunlight shining through

Tudor Mass audio illusion unveiled 

The haunting sounds of a Tudor Lady Mass can be experienced in our 16th-century chapel for the first time in nearly 500 years. This unique audio illusion immerses listeners in a Mass as Henry VIII may have heard it, when he visited The Vyne in 1535.

In the stone gallery animated medieval tapestries reveal images of courtly life, hawking and hunting. Conveying the pastimes of the Tudor Court, they are accompanied by music from Anne Boleyn’s original surviving songbook. 

Large screens depict moving tapestry scenes
Close up of rare tapestries
Large screens depict moving tapestry scenes

Illustrations and text panels explore the political reasons behind Henry’s visit here, and the magnificent pomp and ceremony that surrounded it.

Doctor Lucy Kaufman, an early history scholar at Keble College, Oxford, worked withThe Vyne to researched the story:

'This Progress happens at the moment of the initial Reformation. Henry leaves London just after he's had Sir Thomas More executed for refusing to say that the king is the head of the church.

'This 1535 Progress was an opportunity for Henry to cement what we’d now call a ‘Protestant’ loyalty amongst his most powerful and wealthy subjects. This included William Sandys – owner of The Vyne and Henry’s Lord Chamberlain. It was also a chance for Henry to be seen with his controversial queen, Anne Boleyn, and to assert his new role - as Supreme Head of the Church.’

Elsewhere in the mansion you’ll find beautiful furnishings, props and audio which tell another intriguing story. They reflect the life and belongings of William Wiggett Chute and his family. 

This unusual Victorian gentleman succeeded to The Vyne in 1842 but with little money to support it. The estate was in great disrepair, but Wiggett Chute and his family were determined to save it. 

" It was impossible to reduce the size of the house, which could only be done by pulling down the chapel at one end, or the gallery at the other, or the staircase in the centre, which are all rather historical. I was obliged therefore to undertake the repair of the whole as it stood. "
- William Wiggett Chute

They poured the family’s money into repairing the house, and in doing so, secured its future, but the huge cost left them unable to entertain or socialise.

During your visit to The Vyne you'll also discover two rooms that have been turned into illuminated ‘stores’, showcasing a mix of treasures. These are pieces that have been temporarily moved from their usual positions in the house, to protect them during the roof project. 

Get up close to some of our 'displaced' collections
Close up of a black Javanese settee
Get up close to some of our 'displaced' collections

Highlights include an eclectic display of chairs ranging from a Regency wheelchair to a Javanese 17th-century settee, as well as a ‘sensory’ display of lights and ornately framed mirrors. 

These newly presented interiors are on show throughout 2017. 

Note: timed tickets are in operation in the house from 12 - 4pm. Please check our opening times for further information.