Castles throughout our portfolio have rooms named after figures connected to their history. Some are well known, others less so. Below we investigate the lives of three people whose names have been given to rooms at some of our English castles.
Princess Elizabeth Room – Coombe Abbey
Elizabeth Stuart, born 1596, was the daughter of James VI of Scotland (later James I of England and Ireland). As was often the case for children of nobility, Elizabeth was separated from her parents at an early age. She was 7 years old when she was sent to Coombe Abbey, where she lived under the care of Lord Harrington and his wife.
During Elizabeth’s time at Coombe Abbey, she became connected to the well known Gunpowder Plot of 1605 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunpowder_Plot), the intention of which was to install a Catholic monarch to the English throne. Had Guy Fawkes and his conspirators succeeded in blowing up parliament, assassinating the Protestant King James, there were plans to cause an uprising in the Midlands, abduct Elizabeth and, after conversion to Catholocism, install her as a puppet queen.
The De Lucy room – Langley Castle
Thomas De Lucy, Lord of Langley, was a knight under the service of King Edward III. De Lucy was one of the king’s most trusted captains and received particular recognition for his services at the Battle of Crecy in 1346.
Using spoils of the French Wars and with compensation from the Royal Exchequer, Sir Thomas decided to protect himself from the perceived threat of nearby Scots by rebuilding his house at Langley into the strong defensive fortress we see today. Sir Thomas commenced work on building Langley Castle 1350 and work was completed in 1365.
The Howard Room – Thornbury Castle
Construction of Thornbury Castle began in 1511 to serve as a home for Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham. In 1521, the duke was accused of treason and was beheaded on the orders of Henry VIII, who then took the castle under his control (and indeed stayed, for 10 days during 1535, accompanied by Queen Anne Boleyn).
In 1554 ownership of Thornbury Castle was restored to the Staffords by Queen Mary, but upkeep proved too expensive and the castle fell into disrepair. In the 1600s, the castle came into the possession of the Howard Family, who were responsible for its restoration to the building we see today, and remained in their hands until the 1960s.