Renowned historian to present on splendour of Tudor palaces

Published: 2nd November 2023

Historian and broadcaster, Dr Jonathan Foyle, will give a public lecture on Tudor palace interiors at Collyweston, where local historians and archaeologists are researching the lost palace of King Henry VIII’s grandmother. 

Dr Foyle, an award winning BBC broadcaster, has had a career spanning conservation, research, and curating, and presented a number of popular television programmes often involving Tudor history.

The lecture, hosted by the Collyweston Historical & Preservation Society, will take place against a backdrop of a Dr Rachel Delman’s doctoral research at the University of Oxford, which explored the home of Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII and grandmother of King Henry VIII.

Dr Rachel Delman said:

‘‘Following her son’s victory at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, Collyweston became the principal residence of Lady Margaret Beaufort, matriarch of the Tudor dynasty. Margaret transformed an earlier manor house on the site into a luxurious palace and royal base in the midlands.

“The extensive archival evidence for the palace shows that it was a thriving hub of activity, attracting royal, noble and learned visitors. As a well-documented example of a palace commissioned by a Tudor woman, it is a site of national — and indeed international — significance.’’

The whereabouts of the now destroyed palace has been a mystery for many years, but research and survey work by Collyweston enthusiasts and geophysics expert John Gater, has identified a complex series of below-ground structures that appear to confirm the location of the site..

Dr John Gater, Sumo Surveys, said:

“Scrolling through the time slices creates an image of rooms or buildings within a larger structural complex. As such, it is tempting to interpret the results as being associated with a substantial structure and given the historical records, it seems a reasonable supposition to suggest these could be part of the long-lost Collyweston Palace.” 

Although the precise layout of the palace has yet to be established, Dr Foyle’s lecture will discuss what palaces such as this, would have looked like on the inside, how they were designed and used by later monarchs, including King Henry VIII who visited Collyweston several times during his reign – and may even have adapted the complex in this period.

Dr Foyle’s lecture will mark the start of a new phase of work exploring Collyweston’s role in the progresses of Henry VIII himself. The Henry on Tour project, led by Historic Royal Palaces and colleagues at the Universities of York and Newcastle, will work with Collyweston Historical Society, to investigate ways of bringing Henry’s visit to life for the local community.

Chris Close, Chairman of Collyweston Historical Society, said:

“It’s amazing what we’ve already been able to discover as amateurs already. Our long term aim is to enable the local community to discover more about the national significance of the palace and our village’s story.”

Messenger are most grateful to have been invited to sponsor this local event.

An evening with Dr Jonathan Foyle

Booking Information

6.30pm, Saturday, 11th November 2023

St. Andrew’s Church
Back Lane, Collyweston
Stamford, PE9 3PW

Book Your Tickets:
Tickets must be purchased in advance via the Collyweston Historical Society website.

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