Sunday, July 17, 2016

Out and About - Sudeley Castle

Here we go. Up the hill, hoping whoever is on the other side is hugging their side of the road. After a good night's sleep and a good breakfast (I ate well, Tim had half a piece of toast and some tea), we programmed our little GPS (on my cell phone - without data!) for Hailes Abbey and Sudeley Castle, said a little prayer, and ventured out. 

Here's another stone wall. I told you there would be more. Isn't it picturesque? 

So. First thing - I've been mispronouncing Sudeley - it's "Soodeley" with a long "u", not a short one. Before visiting the castle, I knew that the last wife of Henry VIII (who managed to outlive him and keep her head) was buried in the church here, and had lived here with her second husband, Thomas Seymour (who was later beheaded by Queen Elizabeth I). Whew! That's a lot of history just there. But there's so much more. I won't burden you with all of it, but I was fascinated.

Sudeley Castle (with a long "u") is set in an AOB - Area of Outstanding Beauty. Gentle hills, clumps of forest, sheep grazing, golden stoned cottages - it's pure loveliness.

So what does one do with a very large tithe barn missing most of the walls and all of the roof? One creates a peaceful garden. This is half of the garden, behind the unseen photographer is the other half. 

Earlier today we visited Hailes Abbey. That will be another post. Hailes Abbey was destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII. Thomas Cromwell was Henry VIII's minister who oversaw the destruction. 

Ironically, Oliver Cromwell, Thomas' great-great-grand-nephew, destroyed much of Sudeley Castle years later during the English civil war. 

The remains of two walls of the banqueting hall loom over the gardens evoking the grandeur of the past. Empty windows frame the view of the yew hedge and rose knot garden.

Roses, clematis, and all sorts of plants clamber up the walls. There's a lot of scope for imagination here, and plenty of inspiration for photos. 

Another window from the banqueting hall ruin. And a stone chair. Not too comfy looking, but elegant with its festoon of roses.

Here's a view of the church with the castle in the background. Oliver Cromwell did a number on the church, too, using it as a butcher shop for hanging animals, and cutting meat on the communion table.

Acts of terror and desecration are not new, unfortunately. Power and greed corrupt throughout history. 

But let's move on. Don't those clouds add to the mood of the photo? We're enjoying warm, dry, beautiful weather. 

The building was left roofless and vandalized and the church members gathered in a very small chapel accessed by this door.

The quietness and peace of the gardens belies its disturbed past. 

In 1979 the present owner, Lady Ashcombe and her late husband, created this garden in honour of their wedding that year. Wide beds of perennials line each side. Tim and I sat on one of the benches for some time, soaking in the warmth and sunshine.

The rose garden is worthy of its own post, too, later. I'll leave you with Rosa Eglantyne- isn't she a beauty? 

Tonight we're going to The Apple Tree pub for dinner. Tim's ready to eat a proper meal. Thank you for all your kind comments. I wish you could all be here, too. What fun we could have had at the castle today.


  1. How lovely! You are over here and sampling Henry VIII's handywork for yourself. He was a bit of a rascal wasn't he?! Enjoy the heatwave and the sunshine for your tours around xx

  2. Sorry you got sick but it sounds like a good place to be sick. Today's photos are especially beautiful. Appreciate you taking the time to share them.

  3. I'm enjoying these beautiful photos of your trip. I'm so sorry you both got so sick and hope hubby is much better today too. That's really rough when you have so much you want to do and see. It's great to find out the history of places like this. Sad too. Take care...both of you! Hugs, Diane

  4. Stunning place! The garden makes what otherwise would be an austere place a pleasant and inviting one. Her second husband was Thomas Seymour? Related to Jane? Hmmm...must catch up with the history you have hinted at. So glad that you will have had a proper meal by the time I catch up with you again. And I hope that you will have taken photos, but if not, I can count on your descriptions.

  5. Anonymous5:49 PM

    Your photos are just gorgeous! Glad the two of you felt good enough to go out and about! I'm craving a good pub meal! Enjoy.

  6. Glad to hear you are both feeling a lot better and the sun is shining down on you, apparently it is a mini heatwave that will last a few days. Hopefully you will get used to our roads and feel alright about them, they certainly can be a little daunting. Have a good day.

  7. You are having lovely English weather this week,we are all reveling in the sun! Glad you are feeling stronger now.

  8. What a beautiful place NOW, despite the history / catching up on some posts again :)

  9. The place is pure magic and so are your photos.
    I so wish I could be there. :)
    Thank you for the lovely posts!

  10. Magnificent!! ♥♥♥ that stone chair!!
    Thanks for taking us along....I'm enjoying your vacation almost as much as you...and probably more than poor Tim!!

  11. Oh wow...what magical photos! So much storybook-like beauty there...I'd love to visit someday. Thank you for sharing and enjoy the rest of your trip!

  12. Thank you both for the enjoyable and lovely photos
    Your words bring smiles. I'm glad y'all had a wonderful day.
    The stone chair does look uncomfortable. I wonder if its made that way to lean on more than sit or as one end of a bench with the seat part resting on each end.

  13. Lovely post...such beautiful pictures and interesting to hear your impressions and thoughts. I have been too busy sewing lately I think and have been missing your wonderful travel posts....but am off to catch up now. Have a wonderful time Lorrie!
    Helen xox

  14. Such a beautiful place with so much history, enjoy your trip.

  15. Thanks so much for the post! Beautiful photos and history

  16. Oh dear me, yes, I'd love to be there with you!!

  17. You captured the beauty of this place so well. I especially love the photo with the stone chair. The ancient stone combined with the beautiful flowers is a delightful pairing.

  18. Beautiful! A story book setting for sure.

  19. Ah this is a lovely wander around the castle, I have not been for years. Oliver Cromwell and Henry VIII were a pair of terrors and seem to have taken great delight in destruction. Ah yes, our country roads can be a bit narrow, I hope they didn't scare you too much xx

  20. Ah this is a lovely wander around the castle, I have not been for years. Oliver Cromwell and Henry VIII were a pair of terrors and seem to have taken great delight in destruction. Ah yes, our country roads can be a bit narrow, I hope they didn't scare you too much xx

  21. Oh Lorrie, this is such a BEAUTIFUL post!!! Your photos are great, and the garden and abbey remains are amazing! That has to be one of the most perfect roses I've ever seen. :)

    I really love the English countryside and so hope that Hal and I can visit again someday. You were truly in a beautiful area. Ironically, I'm reading about Thomas Cromwell right now -- a series of books called the Matthew Shardlake mysteries by C. J. Sansom. What I'm reading does not make me admire Thomas Cromwell; those were definitely violent and uncertain times to live in.

    Thanks for sharing with us and have a good week.


    Denise at Forest Manor


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