12th February was the 463rd anniversary of the execution of Lady Jane. Glenda, who many of you will know as tudorista@glendjmc , visited Bradgate Park and took part in the laying of tulips in memory of Jane.
Glenda has very kindly written a guest post about her visit with magnificent photos by Lorenzo Madge. Thank you to both of you and for laying a tulip in Jane’s memory for me.
It seemed fitting that the day was grey and miserable on this anniversary of the execution of Lady Jane Grey 463 years ago. Sadly it meant that many visitors kept away from the usually popular Bradgate Park beauty spot and childhood home of Lady Jane.
However, we headed down from Old John, through heavy mist, which was quite atmospheric, and were greeted at the gates of Bradgate House by a number of tulips woven into the gate in memory of Lady Jane. A very lovely tribute.
We caught up with volunteer tour guides, Julie and Terry who took us on a very interesting walk around the house, filling in some of the history, detailing the areas of brickwork and answering questions from the keen group of six who braved the weather. It was interesting to know that very little has been documented with regard to the house, therefore a lot of the explanations as to the layout were made on assumptions and not hard evidence.
However, this led to interesting discussions among the group about the areas we were able to view, ‘was this a wardrobe?’, ‘this isn’t big enough for a tiltyard’, ‘this is definitely the kitchen, what kind of bread would have been baked here’, etc. On a spring or summers day, this tour is definitely worth doing as even though I have visited Bradgate House many times, I came away with new information.
From the tour we headed back to the new Visitor Centre where I was interested and pleased to see they are embracing the parks Tudor roots more fully than the previous centre did.
A fabulous display outlining the history of the house and family, together with the archaeology and natural history of the area. Some clever interactive interpretation for adults and children alike, outlining the Greys family tree, information about Richard III and Henry VII, to give some context to Jane’s story. Also a 3D printed model of how the house may have looked before it was left to degrade into its current ruinous state around 1739 when the family relocated.
And so I purchased my white tulips, noticing the very good range of history books for sale, and headed back to the house to lay the flowers at the gate.
Despite the low visitor numbers it was pleasing to see so many were laying a tulip for Jane, and I felt privileged to have had the opportunity to do so.
Thanks to Julie Ladds and Terry Simms, Bradgate Trust Volunteers and Ruin Guides for a most interesting tour and to the team at the visitor centre for organising this event.