Royal Tales of the Chilterns: murder, lost treasure and pole vaulting
It’s Platinum Jubilee time, and the Queen celebrates 70 years on the throne. In the run up to platinum jubilee weekend people all over the country are planning events. You can find out what’s going on in the Chilterns or near you at: The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee 2022
To entertain you in the run up, here are some stories about Royals in residence in the Chilterns throughout history and the dramatic rise and fall of Chilterns towns and villages, with tales of battles, murder plots, Royal pole vaulting disasters and lost earrings. You can visit all the places mentioned.
- Did you know that the tiny village of Ewelme once had a palace?
- Did you know that the Royalists surrendered to Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarian Roundheads at Wallingford, and that Wallingford Castle was once one of England’s most important castles?
- King Henry VIII once tried to pole vault across the river at Hitchin… find out if he made it below.
Famous residents in the 14th century: Piers Gaveston who was gifted the castle by Edward II and held a huge tournament there 1307. Wallingford was Edward the Black Prince’s principal residence. Edward II’s wife, Isabella, plotted here against her husband with Roger Mortimer, who was involved in Edward’s murder. Young King Henry IV was tutored in Wallingford.
Civil war and 1652: Wallingford Castle was a Royalist Stronghold in the English Civil War and the site of the Royalists’ surrender to Oliver Cromwell and the Roundheads. The castle was destroyed by Cromwell in 1652.
Wallingford Castle Gardens and ruins for a roll down the hill into the dry moat, and a circular walk through Castle Meadows to the river, returning to town along the Thames. Wallingford Museum for more history fun facts.
Ewelme’s Palace and Duchess Alice
William the Conqueror was formally offered the royal crown here after his victory at the Battle of Hastings, and this motte and bailey castle was built by the William’s brother. Royal hands that the castle has passed through include Henry 11, Edward the Black Prince, Henry V, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.
Visit:Read more about Berkhamsted's Royal connections
Hitchin and Henry VIII
King Henry VIII was partial to a bit of hunting in the beautiful countryside. Although we know him as a formidable corpulent royal, he was athletic in his younger days and the story goes that he once tried to pole vault across the River Hiz. Having become heavier than he realised, the pole snapped under him and he fell into the river, which greatly tickled his servants. This event was, until recently, commemorated on the sign of the Buck’s Head pub in nearby Little Wymondley.
Visit:Read more about Hitchin's Royal connections
Henry VIII is said to have entertained at this wonderful Tudor manor house near Amersham, built around 1460. Queen Elizabeth I visited several times, and in July 1570, according to an entry in a wardrobe book, she lost some small gold fastenings called aglets from her dress. There is a huge oak tree in the grounds of the Manor, known as Queen Elizabeth’s Oak, under which it is thought she lost the jewellery. You can visit the house and its beautiful gardens which have been restored by the current owners.Read more about Chenies Manor's Royal connections
From Victoria R - The Royal Gifts of Hughenden
Lindy Hop at Chilterns Open Air Museum
On Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd June come and join in the Jubilee celebrations at Chiltern Open Air Museum. Jeep, Jump Jive will be playing music from their US Army Force Jeep. The whole family can have a go at some Lindy hop with dance classes at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.
Have a look at the Jubilee bunting made by local school children and explore the museum’s collection of over 30 historic buildings and working historic farm. Book here.
Set a date to come together with family and friends for a Christmassy catch-up. Every Christmas gift and seasonal treat you buy helps care for these special places, to keep them twinkling for many Christmases to come.
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