Three families – one King

30 August 2015

‘The Only Way Is Tudors’

As promised, David Starkey most certainly did take us all on a white knuckle ride through Tudor Essex last Friday evening. Focussing on three dynasties, the De Vere, Petre and Marney families, David spoke with passion for an hour and a half (without notes) on how influential Essex was in helping shape the reign of Henry VIII. 

The ‘Long Gallery’ at Layer Marney Tower, once Henry Marney’s Tudor Stables, was the most perfect setting to be transported back 500 years to the 15th century. Members, guests and friends of the Essex Agricultural Society were captivated by David’s unrivalled knowledge of not only our Tudor monarchy, but how three ‘Essex’ families carved their names in English history. 

We were taken back on a journey through the Colne Valley where the De Vere’s of Hedingham Castle, supporters of the Tudors before 1485, have left a huge impression on the local architectural landscape, a true statement of their wealth and power. Our next stop was with Henry, Lord Marney, an influential member of Henry VIII’s court since the young Prince’s childhood. His eight storey house was sadly unfinished because of his untimely death. Its Tudor Gatehouse, the tallest in the country, was built to rival Hampton Court which it resembles closely. The house shows not only that Henry Marney had as much power as Wolsey but with its cutting edge Italian decorations, it made Hedingham Castle appear old fashioned. We were taken finally across to Ingatestone Hall and Sir William Petre, Henry VIII’s Secretary of State influential, but defiantly they remained staunchly Catholic not endearing them to the King. 

Three families – one King, a chapter in time that left a lasting impression on world history!  

David Starkey CBE once described as the ‘rudest man in Britain’ should be known as the ‘most knowledgeable man in the Britain’, at least when it comes to the Tudors…