Sudeley Castle is located in the parish of Sudeley in the Cotswolds, near to the medieval market town of Winchcombe, Gloucestershire. Today Sudeley Castle remains the only private castle in England to have a queen buried within the grounds - Queen Katherine Parr, the last and surviving wife of King Henry VIII – who lived and died in the castle.
Henry himself, Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey, Queen Elizabeth I and Richard III have all played a part in Sudeley’s story. King Charles I found refuge here during the Civil War, when his nephew Prince Rupert established headquarters at the Castle. Following its ‘slighting’ on Cromwell’s orders at the end of the Civil War, Sudeley lay neglected and derelict for nearly 200 years.
Then in 1837, Sudeley was rescued by the wealthy Worcester glove-makers, brothers John and William Dent, who began an ambitious restoration programme, which was continued by their nephew, John Coucher Dent, when he inherited the castle in 1855. His wife, Emma Brocklehurst, threw herself enthusiastically into Sudeley’s restoration. It is the results of Emma’s dedication that are so evident in the gardens and exhibitions at Sudeley today.
Sudeley Castle & Gardens is now the home of Elizabeth, Lady Ashcombe, and her son, daughter and their families.
Few castles have seen as much war, romance and royalty as Sudeley and many treasures from long and eventful history are now on display in a fascinating exhibition. Called ‘Royal Sudeley 1,000, Trials, Triumphs and Treasures’ highlights key moments of the Castle’s history, while showcasing a remarkable collection of priceless objects and curiosities illustrating the history of Sudeley Castle and its owners. Visitors can also see one of the finest collections of textiles in the country, a beautiful collection of gloves on loan from the Dent glove museum, and a vast collection of autographs including those of Abraham Lincoln, Charles Dickens, Alfred Lord Tennyson and Charles Darwin.
One of the original Sudeley buildings, the Tithe Barn dates back to the 15th Century. The building was partly destroyed by Cromwell in the Civil War, but the ruins are now transformed into a romantic garden by a koi carp pond, with a spectacular view of the Castle. There are 10 magnificent, award-winning gardens which sweep around the castle and grounds.