Sunday, November 15, 2015

Let's big up the Tudor cousins at Lydiard House

Heiress Margaret Beauchamp, Henry VII's grandmother, owned Lydiard Park in 1420. Her daughter, Margaret Beaufort, Henry's mother, was very close to her St John half siblings, finding them places at court and arranging advantageous marriages for her extended family,

In August 1592 Elizabeth I called in at Lydiard House on her summer progress. She held a privy council meeting at the house and knighted her cousin of the half blood John St John during her stay.

So why aren't we bigging up the Tudor connections at Lydiard House?

Telegraph journalist Hannah Betts describes the enduring appeal of the Tudors in this entertaining article. Follow the link to read the full feature.

If history is reducible to one era for us Brits, it is the Tudor period. Even before the phenomenon that is Wolf Hall, our favourite version of Ye Olden Dayes was that with codpieces, ruffs, beheadings, and irascible redheads. Blame it on Shakespeare, blame it on 'Enery the Eighth, putting the serial killer into serial monogamy, blame it on Good Queen Bess making such a humdinging heroine - but a visiting alien could be forgiven for imagining that British history is the story of gingers acting up.

My love for those gingers is greater than most. The 1590s were the best years of my life, having spent my twenties studying and teaching Renaissance literature. Ask me the appeal of the period and I can give a clever answer about the affinity between premodern and postmodern cultures, the birth of nationhood, emergent literary identity, and our idea of the self. However, basically I just think it was brilliant.

Historian Ruth Goodman - adviser to the BBC for its acclaimed Wolf Hall, after 10 years in a similar role at the Globe - agrees. "The Tudor period seems larger than life: bright, colourful and exotically different, yet still our past. It moves between the strange and the familiar," she says. "It is also the moment when we as a nation were about to launch onto the world stage. It's an energetic time, a pregnant moment." Obligingly, in her new book 'How to be a Tudor: Dawn to Dusk Guide to Everyday Life, Goodman offers the definitive guide to living the Tudor dream - which is why my editor decided I should try it out...."

Let's have a Tudor themed day at Lydiard House and Park. Jousting on the front lawn, Tudor fast food for sale in the stable block, Tudor toys for the children to try, Tudor music in the walled garden. -  I'll add that to the list!

Important notice:

Hannah Betts - Living the Tudor life

Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall trailer

Ruth Goodman (left) in Tudor Monastery Farm

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