The History of Sudeley Castle

With royal connections spanning a thousand years, Sudeley Castle has played an important role in the turbulent and changing times of England’s past.

Today Sudeley Castle remains the only private castle in England to have a queen buried within the grounds - Queen Katherine Parr, the last and surviving wife of King Henry VIII – who lived and died in the castle.

Henry himself, Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey, Queen Elizabeth I and Richard III have all played a part in Sudeley’s story. King Charles I found refuge here during the Civil War, when his nephew Prince Rupert established headquarters at the Castle. Following its ‘slighting’ on Cromwell’s orders at the end of the Civil War, Sudeley lay neglected and derelict for nearly 200 years.

Exterior view of the castle from across a lake
Sudeley lay neglected and derelict for nearly 200 years before its purchase in 1837 by glovemakers John and William Dent. The brothers used their wealth to fund a significant restoration programme.

Then in 1837, Sudeley was rescued by the wealthy Worcester glove-makers, brothers John and William Dent, who began an ambitious restoration programme, which was continued by their nephew, John Coucher Dent, when he inherited the castle in 1855. His wife, Emma Brocklehurst, threw herself enthusiastically into Sudeley’s restoration, at the same time forging strong links with the nearby town of Winchcombe. It is the results of Emma’s dedication that are so evident in the gardens and exhibitions at Sudeley today.

Sudeley Castle & Gardens is now the home of Elizabeth, Lady Ashcombe, and her son, daughter and their families. The family is committed to the continued preservation of the castle, its treasures and the ongoing restoration and regeneration of the gardens.

Sudeley Castle is home to Elizabeth, Lady Ashcombe and the Dent Brocklehurst family

Explore one of the best Tudor castles in England

Tudor enthusiasts can find out more about Sudeley’s fascinating past in the castle’s historic exhibitions. The ‘Six Wives Exhibition’ is housed in the 15th century West Wing and houses replica Tudor costumes from TV series ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII’, alongside information about the era.

The exhibition also showcases rare copies of original books written by Katherine Parr, the first queen to have her own work published. These, together with items taken from her tomb, help to illustrate Dr David Starkey’s film ‘The Life and Loves of Katherine Parr, Queen of England and Mistress of Sudeley’, which is shown alongside the exhibition.

Enjoy a fascinating day out at Sudeley

Explore more

There is always something going on at Sudeley…