In a week long programme of events, this summer, we will bring to life West Horsley Place during July 1533. 

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The king of England is in very good spirits. He is riding high on his greatest achievements. Everything he was been working for years to achieve is about to come to fruition. 

He has just married Anne Boleyn and had her crowned. She is now heavily pregnant, visibly expecting his longed-for heir. Once a son is born no one will question his decision to divorce, his realm will be more stable and his dynasty secure. In choosing to marry Anne he has broken from Rome and is now able to consolidate more power and declare himself Head of the Church. 

The fall of Anne, his accident while jousting and four more complicated marriages are all in Henry's future. Right now, he is enjoying one of the greatest moments of his life. 

And he has chosen the Manor of Horsley and the company of his cousins to celebrate! 

“We find Henry VIII at West Horsley Place at probably the most important moment of his reign” Professor James Clark 

Henry & Gertrude Courtenay, Marquess & Marchioness of Exeter, welcomed Henry VIII and his courtiers to their home in July 1533. The king's celebration at West Horsley was marked by feasting, music, hunting and entertainment.

Henry wasn't surrounded by the whole court, just his intimate favourites and while merry-making at the manor of Horsley he was described as the happiness he had ever been. 

"I never saw the King merrier than he is now.
Never was better cheer than at my lord of Exeter's"

However, despite all the merriment there are undercurrents of danger. Breaking from Rome will cause huge instability and have serious repercussions for many years to come. In a few short weeks, Anne will give birth to a daughter, casting Henry into despair and doubt. And the Courtenays story will take a dangerous turn, as the king's chief minister Thomas Cromwell is about to wrench them from the king's favour.

But, just for now, that is all in the future. 

Join us for that momentous moment in July 1533 when everything looked golden. 


How West Horsley Place looked in the Tudor era when it was a significant Royal residence.