The search for the real Wolf Hall (or Wolfhall) - concert launches Friends' appeal
Archaeological work at Wolf Hall, near Burbage, is revealing hidden pieces of the old Wolf Hall puzzle - how much of the house at which King Henry VIII wooed Jane Seymour still exists as part of the present Wolf Hall Manor?
A Friends of Wolf Hall organisation has been set up to raise funds to restore the Manor and a Lottery grant is being sought to continue archaeological work.
The Friends held a fundraising concert at the Manor last Friday (June 30). One of those attending was Mary Spender (of the Marlborough History Society) - she writes:
"Those who loved Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall - the book, the Royal Shakespeare Company's play or the acclaimed television series with Mark Rylance as Cromwell -can soon look forward to visiting the house: Wolfhall is now discovered to exist and just awaits restoration, close by Burbage.
The current owners - three brothers and their sister of the Bruce-Binney family, who are directly descended (32 generations) from Edward Seymour, the Lord Protector and brother of Jane Seymour - are determined to bring the house and gardens back to life.
Last Friday they presented a wonderful evening of music, readings and a history lecture to a fascinated audience. Hopefully all those present will join the new Friends of Wolf Hall.
Also on show were the archaeological trenches and some of the amazing finds already made in the first three months of the dig, taking place adjacent to the house.
If the Friends continue to put on events of this quality, audience numbers will not be a problem: the musicians were from Marlborough College – a highly talented ensemble of Staff and pupils, especially formed for the evening – and the excerpts from the book were beautifully read by Anton Lessor (Sir Thomas More in the television production).
The evening was compered enthusiastically by the flamboyant Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, and organised by the Friends of Wolfhall Committee.
The Friends have been set up with the following aims:
1. To support the Bruce-Binney family at Wolfhall as the 32nd generation of their family to own the property, providing guidance and advice to enable them to introduce a visitor destination at Wolfhall and so a means of raising income through visitor attractions and events in order to restore this historic property, and preserve it for future generations.
2. To provide an Annual Wolfhall Lecture/Concert for friends and supporters.
3. To promote and assist with the public understanding of the heritage and history of the Medieval Wolfhall, within the context of its former deerpark and the Savernake Forest
4. To help maintain the site as necessary and address any issues, in conjunction with the site owner – the Bruce Binney family and public bodies.
5. To recruit, train and develop the skills of all members of the Friends.
6. To provide a meeting point both professionally and socially for the furtherance of the above aims and objectives.