How valuable is a field trip to the Tudor part of the Palace
The kitchens, which remain in the palace today, have been reconstructed to look as realistic as possible and as they may have done during the sixteenth century. Some parts of the original kitchens have been knocked down so that the kitchens we see are on a much smaller scale. It is a common fact that Henry enjoyed his food, and this source can back up that statement. Henry had a lot of time to eat and host fancy dinner parties as the country was in a state of peace and not at war or under threat of war.
I feel this is a major factor on the way that Hampton Court was used as Henry had money to spend and time to spend the money. This is why Henry built up such a wonderful and beautiful palace. As the country was peaceful, Henry had more time to socialise as King of England, and did this by impressing foreigner’s with his palace that had had an awful amount of money spent on it as the money was present and not having to spent on wars. Henry was a naturally competitive person and took part in many sporting and leisure activities in Hampton Court and the grounds surrounding it. If it was fine then he would go riding or practice his archery, and it if it was wet he might play bowls’ (Source 27).
It seems from the information available about Henry that he did not really enjoy just relaxing, he liked to be kept busy and amused at all times. Source 28 tells us that after he had eaten ‘there might be dancing, a concert, a masque or other diversions. ‘ This suggests that Henry enjoyed various different after-dinner activities and what he may have used the palace for. Henrys favourite sports included tennis and jousting, both of which he had areas built to play in, as stated in sources 30 and 31.
Even a simple jousting match would be turned into a huge event at Hampton Court. Source 31 says that ‘when he did take part himself, a grand and colourful procession was formed. ‘ This Source and also various others including those featuring maps of Hampton Court, show us that Henry used much of the ‘ideal setting’ of nine acres for sporting use. The poem written by Henry VIII himself in Source 38 also indicates his interest in sport; ‘For my pastance, Hunt sing and dance, My heart is set all goodly sport to my comfort, who shall me let? When Henry V111 took over Hampton Court, he pulled down Wolsey’s Great Hall, and had a larger grander Great Hall built in its place. It took four years, and sometimes the labourers even worked at night by candlelight. The hall is more the 30 metres long and 18 high. Nowadays the Great Hall is different. The flooring has changed, there would have been a fire in the middle with a vent, and some aspects of the wood would have been gold. One of the Main reasons Hampton Court was used by Henry was to impress.
Source 25 tells us how Henry attempted to improve Hampton Court to ‘dazzle’ its visitors. Source 26 informs us of hoe some of the rooms at Hampton Court were used. Source 26 states that Henry had mass twice a day, once in his private chapel and again more publicly in the household chapel. Visitors to Hampton Court in Tudor times went into the palace the same way as we do today, across the bridge and through the beautifully decorated Great Gatehouse. There was once a moat under the bridge. The Great Gatehouse used to be five floors high.
It was built to impress the visitors and prepare them for the fine buildings they would see inside. The public rooms of the palace were called the State Apartments. The largest and grandest room in the palace was the Great Hall. In Tudor times, you entered the hall from the steps outside. At the far end of the hall a doorway leads to a group of rooms which were the King’s state and private apartments. How far into this group of rooms allowed depended on how important you were. The Great Watching chamber was Henry V111’s guard chamber.
The guards stopped people going near the King unless they were allowed to. Unfortunately, this room is all that is left of the Tudor royal apartments. The presence chamber was the largest of the royal rooms. As the main public room, it was magnificently decorated. Here the King received important visitors, like ambassadors. Banquets were held here too. However, the King always sat alone at the top table under a cloth of estate even when he had guests. His ministers called the King’s Council, met here when Henry was at Hampton Court. The Privy chamber was the King’s private room.
Here he saw his most trusted advisors spent time with his companions and ate most of his meals. Beyond the Kings Privy chamber was the King’s Bedchamber dominated by an enormous four -poster bed. There were other private apartments that included a library, a bathroom, a dressing room and galleries. There were similar royal apartments to the ones at Hampton Court in all the royal palaces. As the King moved from palace to palace, all his ministers and servants had to move as well The Queen’s apartments at Hampton Court connected with the king’s.
These were started for Queen Anne Boleyn, but were not finished until Jane Seymour became Queen. Hampton Court was one of the greater houses, one of the buildings where the king and his court kept full estate, where he was seen in all magnificence. Other Tudor Palaces. One way that we can find information on how the Tudors lived is by researching into other palaces that were around at the same time. Other Tudor palaces that still survive today can also help us find out how Henry used Hampton Court. Nonsuch Palace Nonsuch was Henry VIII’s last and most fantastic palace.
It was begun on the 22 April 1538, at the start of the 30th year of Henry’s reign, and six months after the birth of his son, the male heir that he had so long desired and believed that he needed to secure the future of the Tudor dynasty. The palace was intended as a triumphal celebration of the power and the grandeur of Henry VIII and the Tudor dynasty, but it was also a product of the difficulties and insecurities of the reign, which Henry believed were now resolved. The overall plan of Nonsuch Palace was not untypical of a large house of the period, despite the unique nature of the building.
It was arranged around two main courtyards. The outer one was built of brick and stone, with a turreted Gatehouse in typical late mediaeval style, exhibiting nothing to the approaching visitor that was new or exciting. This reflected its function, for it was lined with lodgings for important members of the household rather than the king. Only when the visitor crossed the courtyard and climbed the eight steps of the inner Gatehouse, and looked through the archway, did he suddenly find himself, as did Anthony Watson, Rector of Cheam, writing c1582-92 “surrounded by huge figures of gods and goddesses gleaming white, … o moulded that they seemed to be leaping off the walls” towards him. “Each one stood in a golden frame that shone so brightly in the sun that it looked as though the Palace was on fire… ” (original in Latin, translation as quoted by Lalage Lister Nonsuch: Pearl of the Realm. 1992). The courtyard walls of this inner court, on the ground floor, were of stone, but the rest was a timber-framed structure, supporting the stucco panels moulded in high relief, with the timbers covered with carved and gilded slate.
The royal apartments were behind the stucco on the first floor of this court, divided into the King’s side, to the west, and the Queen’s side, to the east; each side ending to the south in a great octagonal tower, five storeys high, still covered with the relief stuccoes and golden slate. This was, at the least, one of the most extraordinary buildings in 16th century Europe. Does Hampton Court Palace show us how the Palace was used in the Tudor times? On October 11th 2001, we visited Hampton Court Palace on a field trip.
We planned on using the information that we gained to decide whether the visit was a valuable source of information, when finding out how Henry VIII would have used the Palace. A visit to Hampton Court is worthwhile when learning about Henry VIII as what Tudor parts there are remaining of the place are very interesting and can teach you a lot about Tudor style. Apart from just learning about Tudor design, you can also see other styles in the palace especially in the Chapel Royal, where the styles can often be traced back to Tudor design.
Hampton Court Palace is now Britain’s largest Tudor Palace. Consequently, few traces remain of its origins as a manor house. The transformation began with Cardinal Wolsey who turned it into a bishop’s palace after he acquired it in 1514. It later became a Royal Palace when it was taken over by Henry the Eighth in 1528. After Henry the Eighth, the Palace changed little until 1689 and the reign of William the Third. It was during this time that Sir Christopher Wren was asked to make changes to the Palace and added the Fountain Court for example.
There, then followed a spate of changes and additions to the House and Gardens as other monarchs added their stamp to the Palace. Henry VIII was prolific in everything, from marriage to palace building. In just 10 years he spent more than i?? 62,000 rebuilding and extending Hampton Court. This was a vast sum worth approximately i?? 18 million today. By the time he died, the King had more than 60 houses and Hampton Court was his fourth favourite, after Whitehall Palace, Greenwich Palace (now both demolished) and Windsor Castle.
Henry spent 811 days here during his 38-year reign, which suggests that, although he was a regular visitor, his stays were short. All his six wives came to the palace and most had new and lavish sets of lodgings. The King also rebuilt his own rooms at least half a dozen times. The palace not only provided public and private sets of lodgings for the King and queen but also accommodation for each of the King’s children and for a large number of courtiers, visitors and servants.
By the time Hampton Court Palace was finished in about 1540, it was one of the most modern, sophisticated and magnificent palaces in England. There were tennis courts, bowling alleys and pleasure gardens for recreation, a hunting park of more than 1,100 acres, kitchens covering 36,000 square feet, a fine chapel, a vast communal dining room (the Great Hall) and a multiple garderobe (or lavatory) – known as the Great House of Easement – which could sit 28 people at a time.
In the early 1540s, all this was augmented by a new system, which brought water from Coombe Hill in Kingston, three miles away, by lead pipes. This perspective view of the Great Hall by John Vardy, 1749, was dedicated to George II. Henry used Hampton Court to impress, most famously in August 1546, when he feasted and fi?? ted the French ambassador, his retinue of 200 gentlemen and 1,300 members of his own court for six days. For the occasion, the palace was surrounded by an encampment of gold and velvet tents. Half a century later, the Tudor palace was still among the most impressive in Europe.
The Duke of Wi?? rttemberg, who visited Hampton Court in 1592 during Elizabeth I’s reign, called it ‘the most splendid and most magnificent royal edifice to be found in England, or for that matter in other countries’. The modern visitor in search of Henry VIII’s Hampton Court is sometimes surprised that so little survives – his lodgings were demolished and replaced in the late 17th century. However, you can still get a feeling for how Henry’s palace looked. Henry VIII loved building new palaces and renovating his old ones.
By the time he died the king owned more than sixty palaces around the country, several of which can still be visited today. Some of his houses were small hunting lodges, but others were enormous palaces like his famous home at Hampton Court, a palace built on the banks of the Thames just outside London. Henry had inherited the building from his former Lord Chancellor, Cardinal Wolsey in 1528 and immediately set about re-building it. The palace was made up of two very large courtyards connected together. The first courtyard was where his courtiers lived in small apartments.
In the second Henry built his own rooms. Some of the rooms that Henry lived in can still be seen if you visit Hampton Court today. Look at this enormous room on the left. This is the Great Hall at Hampton Court which was built for Henry between 1532-35. Today it looks much as it did in Henry’s time. This was a very important room in the palace as it was here that all Henry’s courtiers could assemble to talk, eat and to dance. Imagine what it was like to be at court when the room was opened in 1535. When I visited Hampton Court on my field trip I made observations about how the palace had changed.
Many buildings in the palace have been altered and changed throughout the duration of the palaces history. Whilst on my field trip to hampton court I made notes on how the rooms were presented etc, and this is what I discovered on how it must have been for Henry V111 to live at Hampton Court Palace: It must have been crowded with richly dressed courtiers all waiting to catch a glimpse of the king. If you had looked up to the roof you would have seen the same wooden beams but then you would have marvelled at the brightly coloured paint as well as ornate carving. Sadly the paint has now disappeared.
Notice the tapestries covering the walls of this room. Then, if you had pushed your way through the crowd to the far end of the hall, you would have seen a huge fire roaring away on the floor as there were no fireplaces or chimneys in Henry’s hall. Instead you could watch the smoke from the fire rising up to escape through an opening in the wooden roof. It must have been very smoky but you might not have noticed that while you enjoyed the company of the other courtiers dancing, gossiping about the king and enjoying the sumptuous food prepared in the enormous kitchens.
Perhaps you have become too hot, or have found that Tudor people tended not to wash much, and want to escape from the crowded hall. You could easily find your way out into the courtyard and admire the hall from the outside. If you visit Hampton Court today you can still enjoy the same view that you might have done in 1535. I noticed the striking brick walls and the stone windows, especially the large windows to the right. Those that jut out are called bay windows, which means that inside there is a little private space that is almost like an extra room off the hall.
If the king had invited you into this bay you were very lucky as this was a privilege enjoyed by only his closest friends. From the outside it looks a little bit like a church because it was built in the same style as churches were in Tudor times. We call this the ‘Gothic’ style and it can be recognised by the pointed arches on the windows. But if you look to the roof you can see that it now looks like a castle! It has a row of battlements, called ‘crenellations’, running along the top of the wall.
These battlements can be seen all the way around the Tudor palace. Henry never thought he’d have to use these to defend his home like a castle. Instead they are intended to remind people of an old castle Renowned the world over as Henry VIII’s great palace, today’s Hampton Court bears little resemblance to the opulent Tudor residence created after Cardinal Wolsey gave the King his substantial medieval palace. The King’s apartments were completely demolished, and much of the remaining palace was extended and remodelled during the 1700s.
But the heart of Henry’s palace has survived remarkably intact – the Great Hall, with its elaborately crafted hammer-beam roof, which provided an impressive entrance to his staterooms. One can only visualise the astounding scene when the hall was bursting with merriment and feasting, and the vast complex of kitchens were bustling with the preparation of endless meals to set before the royal tables. During his time at Hampton Court Palace, Henry VIII had his own apartments changed on several occasions, and lavish new lodgings were built for each of his wives.
The Chapel Royal, with its amazing vaulted ceiling, also featured strongly in Henry`s personal life. His son Prince Edward, was baptised in the Chapel in 1537, and it was here that he learned of Catherine Howard’s unfaithfulness. Along the corridor leading from the Chapel, ghostly sightings and blood-curdling shrieks have been witnessed, said to be those his wife whilst being dragged back to her rooms. Adjoining the Chapel is the Queen’s Closet, and this was where Henry married his last wife, Catherine Parr.
Apart from his many wives, Henry VIII was a great art collector, and some of the 2,000 priceless tapestries he acquired still hang in the Great Hall, and more in the Great Watching Chamber. By 1540 Hampton Court was rated among the most magnificent palaces in England, and for the next 250 years it continued to be a popular venue with the Royals who were attracted by the hunting offered in its 1100 acre park. At the end of Henry’s reign, other Kings and Queens inhabited the palace but left little trace of their existence until the time of William and Mary.
The Royal apartments that survive today are the work of Sir Christopher Wren, who was commissioned to rebuild them in the beautiful Baroque style, and they remain elegantly furnished from that period. Before Wren was able to complete his plans, Queen Mary died and, with building works stopped, several rooms were left as no more than brick shells with plastered ceilings and wooden floors. The present shape and form of Hampton Court is due almost entirely to these substantial developments but William III never lived to see the work completed.