Henry VIII’s Country Houses
A listener asks what happened to all of the ‘palaces’ built by Henry VIII?
Professor Pauline Croft at Royal Holloway, University of London, explained that the term 'palace' or 'palatium' is incorrect. There was only one and that was the Palace of Westminster. The term didn’t become more widely used until the eighteenth century.
However, on his death in 1547, Henry had some 60 ‘great houses’ in London, Essex and the Thames Valley and many have disappeared.
Professor Croft explained that Henry inherited great wealth. He also made much money from the Dissolution of the Monasteries and he seems to have invested a huge amount of cash into houses. He did this for both practical reasons and personal vanity. The Royal Court was a demanding beast. Sometimes as many as 600 people would follow Henry. Such huge numbers put a strain on sanitation and food and so it was easier for Henry and his entourage to regularly move on. But, he and his followers were caught up in a rivalry with Francis 1st of France, arguably the first French renaissance monarch and the man responsible for both restoring and designing new grand Chateaux on the Loire and elsewhere.
So, what happened to Henry’s great houses?
Professor Pauline Croft believes that many were badly built. Further, some were targeted and destroyed during the Civil War. Indeed, the fate of Henry’s many homes is testimony to this iconic monarch’s mishandling of his personal fortune.
Guest: Professor Pauline CroftProfessor Pauline Croft
Useful Links: Hampton Court PalaceHampton Court Palace
Useful Links: Henry VIII's Lost PalacesTime Team Special: Henry VIII's Lost Palaces
Books Bound with Human Skin
Listener John Harwood has discovered a grisly story from his family history.
In 1821 an ancestor, John Horwood, was tried and convicted of murder. He was executed at Bristol’s New Gaol and his body was dissected and his skin used to bind three books, one of which is held in the records office in Bristol.
John wanted to know why the authorities would have done such a gruesome thing?
Making History consulted John Williams at the Bristol Public Record Office where one of the books is held and Professor Owen Davies at the University of Hertfordshire.
Professor Davies pointed to influences from the Continent where he has evidence for women’s shoes and a belt being made from human skin. However, he feels that, more importantly, the use of skin to bind a book is like gibbeting. It’s a warning to others.
Guest: Professor Owen DaviesProfessor Owen Davies
Useful Links: John Horwood and his macabre book legacyJohn Horwood and his macabre book legacy (from BBC Bristol)
Useful Links: Bristol Record OfficeBristol Record Office
Weaving a Family History
Joanne Soroka produces tapestry work and has a family history which seems to link the four corners of the globe. Enthused by this she has set to work portraying her family history in tapestry.Visit the Making History Facebook page to see more
Geoffrey Duffield in South Humberside is writing a history of the British corset industry and would like to hear from anyone who worked in it. Email email@example.com if you can help.
Vanessa talked to Professor Steven King at the University of Leicester on the medical history of corsets and how they were used to promote correct 'straight' growth.
Guest: Professor Steven KingProfessor Steven King
Useful Links: Early Corset Fashion HistoryEarly Corset Fashion History (from Fashion-Era.com)