At the end of Nasim’s article on David Starkey’s talk about Acton Court and Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s visit there in 1535, I wrote about how Acton Court is at risk due to heavy traffic using the road which runs just three feet away from the property and its gates, but I wanted to expand on it here.
The problem is that the remaining manor house, in Iron Acton, near Yate, in south Gloucestershire, is the part which was built in 1535 for Anne and Henry’s visit there during their Royal Progress to the south-west and it was built in a rush. The owner at the time, Sir Nicholas Poyntz, was desperate to impress the royal couple so he ordered the building of a brand new wing, the East Wing, especially for Anne and Henry to stay in. The Acton Court website describes the wing as lavish and fashionable state apartments and “a rare example of 16th century royal state apartments and some decorations which are said to be the finest of their kind in England.” The wing was built in such a rush, so that it would be ready for the Royal Progress, that it does not have proper foundation, putting it at risk from the vibrations caused by heavy goods vehicles using the narrow country lane outside.
As David Starkey explained in his talk last week, Acton Court represents a moment frozen in time, the moment when Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, visited the house in 1535. We know for a fact that Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn stayed in that wing and conservation work in 1994 even uncovered the King’s en-suite garderobe or privy! Other finds associated with Tudor times include fine Venetian glass, Spanish ceramics, early clay pipes (which give credence to the theory that Sir Walter Ralegh gave a “how to smoke tobacco” demonstration at Acton) and a Cotswold stone sundial which dates back to 1520. There is also a 16th century painted frieze on the surviving Eastern half of the long gallery.
Please help save Acton Court by showing your support for Nasim’s Save Acton Court Facebook page – click here to visit the page and press “Like”. If enough people show support then surely the local authority will have to take measures to curb the amount of traffic using the lane, or at least take steps to stop heavy goods vehicles using it as a shortcut.