Hampton Court Palace Gates
Last night we spent some time deciding on what to do. We’d planned on using a two for one days out to go to the Palace today, making it far more acceptable to our pockets. But this is not available during the school holidays! We’d have to pay full price, even Mick wouldn’t get Old Git’s Rate.
In the end reason saw through our Yorkshire pockets and we purchased tickets on line, which saved us something. Paying more than £20 each we had to make the most of the day so planned on being at the gates as they opened for the day. This of course didn’t quite happen as we kept forgetting things like a coat should it rain again and a water bottle.
Our mooring and advance tickets meant we could gain entrance through a side gate and head straight to the main doors where our tickets were scanned and we were pointed in the right direction for an audio guide. These are well worth getting, plenty of interesting information as you walk round. With maps and guide where should we start? Henry VIII ‘s kitchens.
The courtyards have atmospheric noises, reminiscent of those at Bletchely Park and footage of Tudor gents plays over bench backs, discussing purchases for the kitchens. The kitchens here didn’t only cater for Henry, his court and guests, but on a daily basis there were 400 people to cater for. Henry not only wanted the best of English, roast beef was always on the menu, but also spices from far afield. The staff would have one meal and the Royals would have another of two courses, but this had many different plates.
The kitchens are huge with high ceilings, at least six fires were used for cooking. Chopping boards line one bench, if you put your hands on the board hands and knives are projected chopping and grinding ingredients.
One fire was lit today with a chap wearing heavy woolen clothing turning a spit. Here two large joints, by modern standards, of beef were roasting. The kitchen each year would use 1.3 million logs to cook the palaces food. The logs piled up were each bigger than our stove on Oleanna.
Rooms of pewter and linen headed off to the sides of the serving corridor and then a vaulted wine cellar big enough to house several families. The Tudors liked their wine and beer, but they still drank water, it’s not mentioned as much in records, because once the lead pipes were in the water was free. The water for the Palace came from a spring three miles away.
We refrained from buying anything from the Kitchen shop and headed on to Henry VIII’s Apartments.
Walking into the Great Hall you could hear everyone’s gasps of awe at the sight. Such a wonderful ceiling, which now is tame in colour to what it would have been. Large stained glass windows, wooden carved deer heads and tapestries measuring 5m by 8m, my photos don’t do it justice.
Tables are laid up with cloths for you to sit at, it was good manners to undo ones’ belt as you sat down rather than when it became necessary during a meal. Here banquets would be held with all the trimmings for such a fine room, but on normal days this was actually the staff canteen and Henry was more likely to eat in his private rooms.
The great Watching Chamber follows with it’s wonderful gilt ceiling. Here Yeomen of the Guard would stand watch controlling access to the state rooms, only high ranking visitors were permitted beyond this room. Through the next few rooms the visitors were filtered, only those of very high rank would make it to the final room and meet the King.
Cardinal Wolsey first acquired Hampton Court in 1514 and transformed it from a manor house into a Palace for Henry. He collected tapestries and treasures for the palace, but lost them all to the King when in 1529 he fell from power. The King loved to show off and Hampton Court was just the place to do that.
The Young Henry VIII’s story is just that, the story of his earlier years as King. Rooms are laid out with large backed oak chairs telling his story. He was the first king in 100 years to inherit the throne peacefully from his father. Once king he soon married Katherine of Aragon, she had been briefly married to his brother before he died. Katherine produced children, three boys all of whom died soon after birth or were still born, only Princess Mary survived past the age of seven weeks. Was the Kings marriage a cursed one, him having married his brothers wife?
Anne Boleyn came on the scene, the King fell in love and secretly married her in 1532, still married to Katherine whom he managed to divorce a year later. This is where the saying Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived started from. As a child I never learnt this, but Mick did. However he did today add that the one who survived Henry, she’s now dead!
Still having our tickets meant that we didn’t have to folk out £20 plus for lunch and could return home instead. We handed back our audio tour and had a comfortable sit down back at Oleanna.
5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms with river moorings.
0 locks, 0 miles, 2 cheap internet tickets, 2 4 1 not available in school holidays, 2 days mooring booked, 2 audio tours, 400 mouths to feed, 6 fires, 1.3 million logs, 6 wives, too many wonderful chimneys to count.
£799,950 for 3 bedrooms with pedestrian access, but with two moorings.
Sorry Ade you were miles out with £2.7 million.