It reminded me of Downton Abbey in some respects. Elizabeth, Lady Ashcombe and her family have resided in Sudeley Castle for more than 50 years. Like Cora and Robert Crawley, Lord and Lady Ashcombe maintained a private apartment here. Lord Ashcombe, Camilla Parker-Bowles uncle, died in 2013. This Lord and Lady were largely responsible for turning Sudeley into a notable tourist attraction within walking distance of the very British town of Winchcombe, if you choose to get there on foot like Ruth & I did. It’s different from Downton in it emphasis on royal connections. Sudeley was the home of Catherine Parr, Henry VIII’s 6th and final wife, and there is an impressive list of royal visitors, including many kings, seen on any tour.
There is a sculpture of Goda, the elephant, near the main entrance. Made from ancient pieces of driftwood, Goda is named for Ethelred’s daughter. Ethelred’s nickname was The Unready, and he was Sudeley’s 1st owner in the 11th century. Ralph Boteler created the current castle’s design in 1442. Many of the exhibit rooms have been newly refurbished by the current owner, and Lady Ashcombe has made sure that Sudeley was included in the TV series “Castle Ghosts of England” along with The Tower of London. Henry VIII was a frequent visitor and not just with his last wife, who survived him by only 1 year. He stayed here with #2, Anne Boleyn. Oliver Cromwell besieged Sudeley twice.
After looking at the many exhibits that included the current residents with a strange pet and lots about the 6 wives, Ruth and I drifted outside to see the 14 acres of restored gardens. There are 10 of them, but the most celebrated and unusual is Knot. A Knot Garden was popular in the Tudor Era when Queen Elizabeth I was spending a lot of time here. This particular garden celebrates one of Elizabeths’s outfits by recreating a knot in her dress.
Catherine Parr was laid to rest in St. Marys Church at Sudeley, but her tomb’s exact location was lost until 1782 when some lady sightseers figured out where it was.
Rightfully called one of the Cotswold’s showplaces, Sudeley Castle celebrates royal connections that go back 1,000 years.