Sudeley Castle

Posted By on September 13, 2011

Sudeley Castle, situated in the Cotswolds, near Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, is a must-see for Tudor history enthusiasts with its beautiful gardens, its history, which spans over a thousand years; its 16th century west wing and its church, which is the resting place of Catherine Parr, sixth wife of King Henry VIII.

Sudeley Castle was Crown property during the reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII and was visited by Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn on their progress of 1535. When Edward VI inherited it after his father’s death in 1547, he gave it to Thomas Seymour, his uncle, making Seymour 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley. Seymour began renovation work on the castle after his marriage to Catherine Parr, Dowager Queen, and the couple used the property during Catherine’s pregnancy in 1548.

It was at Sudeley that Catherine Parr gave birth to their child, Mary, and then died after contracting puerperal, or childbed, fever. Catherine was buried in the castle’s chapel but her resting place was lost when the English Civil War caused the chapel to be left in ruins. Her grave was discovered in the 18th century and then she was eventually re-interred in 1817 in a marble tomb, complete with effigy, in St Mary’s Chapel.

Lady Jane Grey, who was a ward of Thomas Seymour, and Lady Elizabeth Tudor, the future Elizabeth I and Catherine’s stepdaughter, visited the castle while the Seymours lived there and Elizabeth returned to the property as Queen Elizabeth I in 1592 when she was invited to a 3-day feast there to celebrate the anniversary of England’s victory over the Spanish Armada.

Enjoy this slideshow of photos taken of the Castle, grounds and Chapel by Felicity Boardman:-

[slideshow id=441 w=300 h=400]

Things to See and Do at Sudeley

  • The Gardens – Sudeley has 9 gardens: The Ruins Garden with its Banqueting Hall ruins, the oriental East Garden, the Knot Garden whose design is based on a pattern from one of Elizabeth I’s dresses, the Mulberry Garden, the Queen’s Garden which is named after the four queens who would have walked there (Anne Boleyn, Catherine Parr, Lady Jane Grey and Elizabeth I), the Secret Garden, the Tithe Barn Garden which features the 15th century Tithe Barn ruins, the Tudor Physic Garden and Herb Garden Walk with its healing herbs, the White Garden which lies alongside the Chapel and which marks the area where Catherine Parr and Lady Jane Grey would have entered the church for their daily prayers, and the Pheasantry with its rare breeds.
  • St Mary’s Church – See the marble tomb of Catherine Parr
  • Six Wives at Sudeley Castle – An exhibition of the replica Tudor costumes worn in David Starkey’s “The Six Wives of Henry VIII ” TV series.
  • Henry VIII: Romance and Intrigue – An exhibition of Tudor artefacts and murals which aim to bring to life Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s stay at the castle in 1535.
  • Katherine Parr’s Keepsakes – An exhibition of artefacts linked to Catherine Parr, including locks of her hair, one of her teeth and a love letter written by her to Thomas Seymour.
  • Connoisseur’s Tours – These special tours of the private apartments of the castle, which are lived in by the family, can be booked online.

Enjoy this slideshow of photos taken of the six wives costumes at Sudeley. Photos taken by Felicity Boardman:-

[slideshow id=442 w=300 h=400]

Thanks so much to Felicity for sharing her wonderful photos of Sudeley Castle. Felicity was one of the winners in our Tudor Places Calendar Competition with her lovely photo of Coughton Court. Sudeley Castle ruins are also featured in our calendar in a photo by Laurie Melton.

For further information on visiting Sudeley Castle, see

16 thoughts on “Sudeley Castle”

  1. Nancy says:

    I’ve been to Sudeley several times and I heartily agree with Claire’s assessment of it. In fact, last September I spent 3 nights in Winchcombe visiting the area. Any chance of a future AB Files tour visiting?

    1. Claire says:

      It’s on my list of possible places for future tours, Nancy, so you never know!

      1. Rachel McNeil says:

        Hello Claire,

        I went this year, and the year previously, and shall return next year, I am that much in love with Sudeley Castle. The guided tour told us that next year David Starkey and Alison Weir would be spending the majority of their time at the castle. So if you did include it, that might be something to consider if your interested. I can’t wait to have a chat with both of them, and get there autographs.


  2. Anne Barnhill says:

    Love those pictures! I’m so happy to hear Prof. Ives will be going next Sept. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get there by then. Thanks!

  3. Jeane Westin says:

    I spent a week at Sudeley Castle in 1989 in the cottages down the hill. I loved the Tudor ruins, the pool, the tour of the castle, the shell of a banqueting hall and Winchcombe, the town. There’ are wonderful public paths for walking around the area, too. I bought some paintings of Sudeley while there which still hang on my dining room wall.

    Jeane, rushing toward my book deadline

  4. Dawn says:

    Beautiful photographs Felicity. The gardens look and sound incredible (as does the castle of course) the time, effort, and skill to create the knot gardens is hugh, more so when they start using complex designs, its an art form, and needs high maintainence to keep them looking perfect, hats off to the gardeners. I am a very keen gardener and would love to see them in the ‘flesh’, especially the herb garden, thats a special interest of mine, of how they have been used through history, but I’m afraid its 550miles away from me, oh well….

  5. Meghan says:

    I was there a few weeks ago! It is so beautiful.

  6. Shoshana says:

    If there are ghosts, I wonder if the ghosts of Katherine Parr, Lady Jane Grey, and Katherine’s little daughter, Mary, returns to Sudeley to walk the grounds and laugh together. I hope so.

    1. Rachel McNeil says:

      They say there are two ghosts at Sudeley Castle. One is a Victorian female lady called Jane, who was the head housekeeper. She used to sleep out in the corridor, and make sure that there was no sneaking around in the night. She guarded the womens chastity.

      A visitor who was on the conisseur tour of the castle, felt herself being called to the top of the stairs, and at the top stood Jane (right where the Elizabeth I stained glass window is).That was the last sighting of her that I know of.

      The other was of a red haired lady standing looking out one of the windows in the library. The house was having some decorations done on the house at the time, and one of the staff members walked through the library and briefly said ‘hello’ to the lady thinking it was the artist. However, a little further on she found the artist, looked back to the library where she saw the woman, and there was no one there. They believe this to be the ghost of Catherine Parr.

      I personally like to believe this is Mary Seymour, but since she did not seem to make it beyond infancy (so historians argue), I think this might be highly unlikely.

      what do you reckon?

      Rachel x

      1. Shoshana says:

        Thanks for your reply, Rachel. I had heard of these two ghosts yet I feel they are not the only ones somehow. Whenever I read or think about Lady Jane Grey I always remember that each book, essay, article and musing that I have read about her life has always included something about her being happy at Sudeley under the care of Queen Katherine. Prehaps the red haired ghost is Jane and not Katherine or Mary; however, I do hope – if ghosts exist – all three are united there. After the tragedy of their lives, it is nice to think they have found peace together in the home where they found a little comfort and happiness together.

        Years ago, before extensive carpel tunnel & arthritis surgeries caused irreparable damage to the functionality of my hands, I painted. One painting I did was based on a photograph of the ruins of Sudeley with misty figures of two women, one holding a baby, dancing in the sun. You really have to stare to see the two figures as otherwise it just looks like a patch of fog in the early sunrise; people have told me they get a “creepy” feeling when they first see the figures. Who knows, maybe my hands were guided the day I painted it; usually a painting would take several days to several weeks but I did this one in just under 4 hours.

        The unexplained, unknown, and mysterious makes our world interesting, doesn’t it? And add the history of Tudor England and you have a life time of research and happy speculation!

        1. margaret says:

          would love to see your painting ,it sounds beautiful and possibly you were guided that day by unseen people ,you painted what you saw

        2. Shoshana says:

          Margaret, I’d love to post my painting but unfortunately, it was damaged during a move and the figures are now unrecognizable. I haven’t had the time to try to repair it but if I ever do, I’ll try to post here if Claire has no objections.

  7. Baroness Von Reis says:

    Claire , The Sudeley Castle is breath taking and Love the Costumes,. in great hope my husband and I will visit next year as duty call in the US therefor this year won’t be possiable.Will there be THE DEAD QUEENS TOUR next 2013?? Baroness Von Reis X

  8. Karena says:

    I have also visited sudeley and agree it is a beautiful place. I would recommend a visit to anyone and would like to commend the hard work of the Dent family especially Emma Dent in the Victorian era for the sudeley we see today.

  9. Anne says:

    I have just returned from a lovely week at Sudeley cottages. The castle was a fantastic place to visit as was the church & gardens. Staying in the Lady Jane Grey cottages- which were very comfortable _ I did witness a ? ghostly occurence during just one of the nights whilst i was there. I just wondered if any one else had witnessed any strange occuences whilst staying there too. The place is steeped in history so I not surprised there has been sightings.

    1. Gail Gee says:

      Hello Anne – we stayed in Prince Rupert last weekend and one of our party had a ghostly experience where a being seemed to ‘whoosh’ at her in the bedroom. She had also taken some photographs during the preceding days and two of them show a white orb in the background. We had our baby Grand daughter there at the time and whilst the noisy conversations from our shocked lady ensued – she slept soundly in her cot – this is unusual as often the slightest noise wakens her.

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