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Secrets of Wolfhall revealed in special exhibition

Archaeological finds and documentary evidence are revealing just how much of the house where King Henry VIII wooed Jane Seymour still exists as part of the present Wolfhall Manor near Burbage.  

Finds will be on display at a Wolfhall information and history exhibition to be held on Thursday July 12 in Burbage Village Hall.  The organisers are also asking locals to come along to share any old photos of Wolfhall, tales and/or information about who lived there in the last one hundred and seventy five years.

Wolfhall historian Graham BatheWolfhall historian Graham Bathe“There are so many stories about Wolfhall which are romantic and have no foundation,” says Graham Bathe, Wolfhall’s historian, “but when stories are repeated by several people they bear investigation.”

Brick work and construction detailBrick work and construction detailIt is a year since the Friends of Wolfhall organisation was set up to raise funds to restore the manor and to uncover its history.  Thanks to grants from Marlborough History Society and Bedwyn History Society a great deal has been discovered.

The Archaelogical Historical Landscape Research Group have visited Wolfhall Manor every other weekend and made some important finds.  They have uncovered a Tudor state of the art brick sewer system with one hundred and fifty metres of walk through tunnels.

Uncovering Tudor remains at WolfhallUncovering Tudor remains at WolfhallGraham Bathe told marlborough.news, “We have also managed to trace and map a brand new brick palace on top, with a number of courtyards, a long gallery (like Littlecote House) and the King’s chambers.  Wolfhall may have been the first brick building in the Marlborough area and could have been responsible for the foundations of the Bedwyn brick industry.”

“Through financial records we discovered that the house was given a makeover in the 1530’s to make it suitable to entertain King Henry VIII who visited in 1535 for one week.  In less than a year Anne Boleyn was executed, he married Jane Seymour who died in child birth or just after, having given him his heir.”

“We have found the base of a hexagonal tower which could have been a gate house and been able to trace some of the garden footprints.  There were at least eight gardens.”

The gardens are now in the process of being restored.  During the winter the footprint of the box garden and wildflower meadow was marked out, new trees were planted in the orchard.  There are also plans to reinstate a parterre.

A recent architectural survey has revealed the Georgian frontage of the current Wolfhall Manor encases an earlier Tudor building and medieval timbers.  Graham Bathe told marlborough.news, “The house has been re-configured, vastly modified to give the current farmhouse we see today but there are undoubtedly relics of the earlier period that have survived.  There is a vast amount still to be uncovered.  We don’t even know the exact shape of the Tudor House yet, but there is a good chance that the archaeology will be able to discover this.”

The Burbage Village Hall exhibition is free and runs from 8.30 am to 5 pm on July 12.  There will be a charge of £3.50 to attend the talk given by Wolfhall’s historian, Graham Bathe, entitled “Wolfhall and the Seymours” which starts at 7.30 pm.  All proceeds go towards the Wolfhall garden restoration project.

Wolfhall are holding an Open Day on Saturday August 11.

Click here to find out more about the Friends of Wolfhall.

Wolfhall is also a member of the Historic Houses Organisation.  Click here to visit their site.

 

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