Monday, July 22, 2019

The Childhood Home of Lady Jane Grey

From Smithsonian:
Today, the only visible evidence of the Grey family estate is a series of brick ruins scattered across Bradgate Park. As Maia Snow reports for Leicestershire Live, however, archaeologists from the University of Leicester recently announced the discovery of stone structures hidden beneath the remnants of these brick buildings. Given the fact that the buried stones pre-date the brick ruins, it’s likely they belonged to an earlier iteration of Bradgate House perhaps once inhabited by England’s nine-day queen. 
“While Bradgate House is such an iconic site, very little is known about the standing structure and how it changed over time,” project co-director Richard Thomas tells Snow. “Our evidence suggests that the home Lady Jane Grey would have recognized may have looked very different from what we see today.” 
By all accounts, Bradgate was a luxurious estate: As historian John D. Paul writes in Bradgate House and the Greys of Groby: A Sketch of Their History, the home—first envisioned by Thomas Grey, eldest son of Elizabeth Woodville, England’s “White Queen,” from her first marriage to John Grey, and completed by his son, another Thomas Grey, around 1520—consisted of two wings united by a great hall used for feasts and entertainment. An enormous kitchen occupied most of the western wing, while the Greys’ private apartments and chapels stood in the eastern wing. Per Abandoned Spaces’ Bojan Ivanov, the mansion was enlarged and modified two decades after it was first built and again toward the end of the 17th century. 
According to the Tudor Travel Guide, Jane’s parents, the Marquess and Marchioness of Dorset (the latter, Lady Frances Grey, was the daughter of Henry VIII’s youngest sister, Mary), likely moved to Bradgate in 1538, around two years after their eldest daughter’s birth. Jane spent much of her childhood in Leicestershire, but upon the formidable Tudor king’s death in 1547, she was sent to live with Henry VIII’s widow, Katherine Parr, and her new husband, Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron of Sudeley and uncle of the just-ascended Edward VI. (The couple married just months after the king’s passing to great scandal.) (Read more.)

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