Monday, September 17, 2007

Thornbury Castle: A castle steeped in history

This impressive 16 century Tudor castle was once the residence of Henry VIII and his wife Anne Boleyn. Queen Mary I also lived here for many years. The grand manor cum castle is literally steeped in history.

Thornbury Castle, or rather its predecessor, the Thornbury Manor dates back to the days of King Athelstan, grandson of King Alfred the Great, circa 945 A.D, when the Count of Flanders, Brictric, owned it. Later on, William Conqueror seized the manor along with the Count’s properties in Thornbury.

After William died, his successor, William Rufus, granted the castle and its adjoining properties to Robert Fitzhamon, in reward for this support, and henceforth, the building passed onto this successors till in came into the hands of Edward Stafford, the third Duke of Buckingham in the early 16 century.

Edward Stafford then fortified it into a castle and redeveloped the surroundings including the hedge gardens. In year 1521, the development work on the castle came to a halt as the Duke was beheaded by the King on charges of treason. It then passed onto this son and later to his successors.

In 1727, the 28the descendant of the first Duke of Buckingham, William Stafford Howard sold it to his cousin, Thomas Howard, 8 Duke of Norfolk. In 1959, the Thornbury Castle changed hands again, but this time it was as a private hotel into the von Essen collection of hotels and resorts.

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