Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall has mesmerised readers across the country, and now the BBC adaptation has brought an enthralling, dangerous world to the screen.
It’s no wonder that interest in the Tudor era has peaked, and Sudeley Castle allows visitors to explore more about this fascinating time – in fact, Sudeley is mentioned in the novel, on page 648!
Wolf Hall focuses on Thomas Cromwell’s machinations of the English court, transforming the religious and political life of Tudor England at the same time. Cromwell played a pivotal role in bringing about one of the most important events in English history – breaking from the authority of the Pope and the Catholic Church as part of the English Reformation. One of the key events happened while the monarch was visiting Sudeley Castle.
Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn came to Sudeley for a week in July 1535, and were accompanied by Cromwell who stayed next door at Winchcombe Abbey – second only to Canterbury as a place of pilgrimage. It was while Henry was staying at the castle that he put into motion that hugely significant initiative, the Dissolution of the Monasteries. As a result, by 1539 Winchcombe Abbey had disappeared, though some of its remains can be viewed at Sudeley.
This important period of history has been brought to life on screen, and can be further explored by walking in the footsteps of the key characters in the castle’s grounds and gardens. Enthusiasts can find out more about the Tudors at Sudeley in the castle’s fascinating exhibitions. The Six Wives Exhibition is housed in the 15th century West Wing and showcases replica Tudor costumes from Dr. David Starkey’s TV series ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII’, alongside information about the era.