Nonsuch Palace

Nonsuch, from a colour engraving by Georg Hoefnagel, 1582

Our school is of course named after Nonsuch Palace, and this fascinating article provides some interesting details about the building. It explains how the palace was designed as a "privy palace" for Henry VIII - built exclusively for his private enjoyment. It was therefore quite small compared to more public palaces like Whitehall but was very lavishly furnished. Construction began in 1541 and when Henry took his courtiers to see it 4 years later tents had to be erected to accommodate everyone. Eventually it was completed in 1548, by which time Henry had died and his son Edward VI was too young to appreciate it. Mary Tudor sold it to the Earl of Arundel, but Elizabeth I reacquired it towards the end of her reign. It was eventually given by Charles II to his mistress, the Duchess of Cleveland, who had it demolished and sold off to pay off her gambling debts. Some of the interior of the palace can now be seen in Loseley House, near Guildford and some of its objects are in the Whitehall Museum in Cheam and the British Museum in London.

From a map of Surrey by John Speed, 1610

The blog where this article comes from is an excellent piece of work dedicated to Anne Boleyn (who died on 19 May - this blog's birthday!) with links to contemporary documents and more recent films and novels about her life. The article also includes video from the "Time Team" programme on Nonsuch Palace and a link to a walk that you can take around the site in Nonsuch Park so you can imagine what life must have been like there as a Tudor hunting ground.

Unknown Flemish artist, 16th Century

PS: Further information about the palace can be seen here, an article about an impressive model of it that was made recently can be read here, and an article about the archaeological dig at the site of the palace during the 1950s can be read here.

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