Sudeley snapshots: Katherine Parr

10 Jun

Sudeley Castle is close enough that we’ve visited about once a month since we moved here.  There’s a great kids’ play area, a cafe in a huge hall, beautiful gardens and views, tons of history, peacocks, pheasants, and the inevitable gift shop.  I’ve been trying to put together a single post about Sudeley, but I’ve given up — it’s a moving target.  Instead here’s the first in what will be a desultory and unhurried set of Sudeley Castle snapshots.  And what better place to start — especially now that we’ve ended our Jubilee week — than with a Queen?

Katherine Parr, last wife of Henry VIII, is buried at Sudeley in the Chapel of St. Mary.


The Chapel is surrounded by white roses and other white flowers, for the ‘white queen’.

The nearby Queen’s garden continues the theme of white flowers.

The location is beautiful and serene — if you ignore the bloody history that runs through this whole area — War of the Roses, Civil War — smell the flowers and don’t think about it for now.

Inside the Chapel, colorful stained glass.

This window shows Elizabeth I in the center and Edward VI to the right — Katherine Parr’s stepchildren, of whom she was reportedly very fond and took good care.  Elizabeth lived at Sudeley with Katherine for a time after Henry VIII’s death.  Err, I forget who the other guy is.  My bad.

Katherine died shortly after the birth of a daughter (she had married Thomas Seymore after the death of Henry VIII.  Quel Scandal!)    Her coffin was discovered by a farmer a few hundred years later, and apparently it became some kind of idiot’s game to open up her coffin and check out her corpse.  Morons.

Wall plaque describing the Queen.  The Chapel dates to the 15th century, but it was rebuilt in the early 19th century in order to give Queen Katherine a decent resting place without any more coffin-tipping morons to disturb her.

The marble tomb is peaceful, soft.

But … wait for it …

What’s this, tucked in a side chapel behind the tomb?

Oh my SUGAR, what the double sticks is this?  My kids were freaked the freak out by this recreation of the death bed of Katherine Parr.  Those figures in the background are movie projections — they fidget and mumble — the whole thing is truly strange, and therefore cool, and I salute Sudeley Castle for making learning terrifying and memorable.

If that hasn’t scarred you enough, inside the castle is another in-your-face moment with the Queen.

The 500th anniversary of Katherine’s birth is this year, and Sudeley Castle is hosting a variety of events in honor of that event.  Check it out — and put Sudeley on your list when you visit the Cotswolds.


9 Responses to “Sudeley snapshots: Katherine Parr”

  1. Keith Perriman June 10, 2012 at 10:58 am #

    Flikr gives the same window, with the following info –

    Stained Glass Window, St. Mary’s Chapel, Sudeley Castle. Depicting Thomas Seymour, Katherine Parr and Henry VIII

    Stained Glass Window, St. Mary's Chapel, Sudeley Castle. Depicting Thomas Seymour, Katherine Parr and Henry VIII.


    South Shields

    • Monique June 10, 2012 at 11:27 am #

      Look carefully — that’s a different window from the same chapel. Henry & Edward look a bit different. 😉

      • Keith Perriman June 10, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

        Aah, Thanks, they look so similar at a first glance

  2. Zazzy June 10, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    England surely likes it’s corpses. I can’t remember ever visiting a museum or landmark with corpses or bodies lying in state. Once the kids recovered from the shock did they think it was cool? Otherwise it looks like a very beautiful place.

    • Monique June 10, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

      It is a little strange, isn’t it? But … educational. My youngest (5yo) was not going anywhere near the figure, but the older two recovered & enjoyed. I’m not sure *I’ve* recovered, but it was better than coffin-tipping!

  3. Anonymous October 21, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    The second picture is of the West door of St. Peter’s Church in Winchcombe and not St. Mary’s in Sudeley.

    • Monique October 21, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

      Belated apologies, Anonymous, you were correct — I’ve updated the image.


  1. Day out: Hailes Church « Crumpets in Camelot - September 15, 2012

    […] small and almost tender small spot to visit, close to Sudeley Castle and only a few steps away from Hailes Abbey.  These small churches — like Odda’s […]

  2. Sudeley snapshots: figures in the garden « Crumpets in Camelot - September 21, 2012

    […] Here is Lady Jane in one of the many stained-glass portraits in the fifteenth century St. Mary’s Church.  (More photos from a previous visit to the Church here: Sudeley snapshots: Kathering Parr) […]

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