Thornbury Castle

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Coordinates: 51°36′49″N2°31′48″W / 51.6136°N 2.5301°W / 51.6136; -2.5301

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The west front of Thornbury Castle. The castle was begun in 1511 as a home for Edward Stafford, third Duke of Buckingham. Thornbury.castle.west.front.arp.750pix.jpg
The west front of Thornbury Castle. The castle was begun in 1511 as a home for Edward Stafford, third Duke of Buckingham.

Thornbury Castle is a castle in Thornbury, South Gloucestershire, England. It was begun in 1511 as a home for Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham. It is not a true castle (designed to serve as a fortress), but rather an early example of a Tudor country house, with minimal defensive attributes. It is now a grade I listed building.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham 15th–16th-century English noble

Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham was an English nobleman. He was the son of Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, and Katherine Woodville, whose sister, Queen Elizabeth Woodville, was the wife of King Edward IV. He was convicted of treason and executed on 17 May 1521.

Listed building Collection of protected architectural creations in the United Kingdom

A listed building, or listed structure, is one that has been placed on one of the four statutory lists maintained by Historic England in England, Historic Environment Scotland in Scotland, Cadw in Wales, and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency in Northern Ireland.


The site was occupied by a manor house in 930; Jasper Tudor, Duke of Bedford & Earl of Pembroke, died in the Manor House in 1495. Part of the original plans for a very grand residence were "well advanced" [1] before the Duke of Buckingham was beheaded, in 1521, on the orders of his distant cousin Henry VIII, for alleged treason. As in the King's palace at Sheen, the main ranges of Thornbury framed courts, of which the symmetrical entrance range, with central gatehouse and octagonal corner towers, still stands, as do two less regular side ranges with many irregular projecting features and towers.

Jasper Tudor British duke

Jasper Tudor, Duke of Bedford, Earl of Pembroke, KG was the uncle of King Henry VII of England and a leading architect of his nephew's successful accession to the throne in 1485. He was from the noble Tudor family of Penmynydd in North Wales.

Henry VIII of England 16th-century King of England

Henry VIII was King of England from 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry was the second Tudor monarch, succeeding his father, Henry VII. Henry is best known for his six marriages, in particular his efforts to have his first marriage, to Catherine of Aragon, annulled. His disagreement with the Pope on the question of such an annulment led Henry to initiate the English Reformation, separating the Church of England from papal authority. He appointed himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England and dissolved convents and monasteries, for which he was excommunicated. Henry is also known as "the father of the Royal Navy"; he invested heavily in the Navy, increasing its size greatly from a few to more than 50 ships.

Treason Crime against ones sovereign or nation

In law, treason is criminal disloyalty to the state. It is a crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's nation or sovereign. This usually includes things such as participating in a war against one's native country, attempting to overthrow its government, spying on its military, its diplomats, or its secret services for a hostile and foreign power, or attempting to kill its head of state. A person who commits treason is known in law as a traitor.

Following the Duke's death Thornbury was confiscated by King Henry VIII of England, who stayed at the castle for ten days in August 1535 with his queen, Anne Boleyn. [2] Following the English Civil War, the castle fell into disrepair, but was renovated in 1824 by the Howard family. It is situated behind St Mary's Church, a church whose founding dates from the Norman period.

Anne Boleyn Second wife of Henry VIII of England

Anne Boleyn was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of King Henry VIII. Henry's marriage to her, and her execution by beheading, made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval that was the start of the English Reformation. Anne was the daughter of Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire, and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Howard, and was educated in the Netherlands and France, largely as a maid of honour to Queen Claude of France. Anne returned to England in early 1522, to marry her Irish cousin James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond; the marriage plans were broken off, and instead she secured a post at court as maid of honour to Henry VIII's wife, Catherine of Aragon.

English Civil War series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists

The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") and Royalists ("Cavaliers") over, principally, the manner of England's governance. The first (1642–1646) and second (1648–1649) wars pitted the supporters of King Charles I against the supporters of the Long Parliament, while the third (1649–1651) saw fighting between supporters of King Charles II and supporters of the Rump Parliament. The war ended with the Parliamentarian victory at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651.

Between 1966 and 1986 the castle was operated as one of the UK's top restaurants by Kenneth Bell MBE with staff including food writer Nigel Slater [3] and MasterChef New Zealand judge Simon Gault [4] early in their culinary careers.

Nigel Slater is an English food writer, journalist and broadcaster. He has written a column for The Observer Magazine for over a decade and is the principal writer for the Observer Food Monthly supplement. Prior to this, Slater was food writer for Marie Claire for five years. He also serves as art director for his books.

<i>MasterChef New Zealand</i>

MasterChef New Zealand is a New Zealand competitive reality television cooking show based on the original British version of Masterchef.

Simon Gault is a New Zealand celebrity chef, entrepreneur, food writer and television personality, known for appearing as a celebrity chef judge on Masterchef NZ and host of Prime TV's Why Are We Fat?.


The castle is now a 26-room luxury hotel and restaurant, and a venue for weddings.

There is a GWR Castle class 4-6-0 locomotive in preservation named 7027 Thornbury Castle

GWR 4073 Class class of 171 four-cylinder 4-6-0 locomotives

The 4073 Class or Castle class were 4-6-0 steam locomotives of the Great Western Railway, built between 1923 and 1950. They were designed by the railway's Chief Mechanical Engineer, Charles Collett, for working the company's express passenger trains.

GWR 4073 Class 7027 <i>Thornbury Castle</i> preserved British 4-6-0 locomotive

7027 Thornbury Castle was built in August 1949. Its first shed allocation was Plymouth Laira. Its March 1959 shed allocation was Old Oak Common. Its last shed allocation was Reading. It was withdrawn in December 1963 and arrived at Woodham Brothers scrapyard in Barry, South Wales in May 1964.


The Castle seen from the top of St Mary's Church tower
The Castle seen from the top of St Mary’s Church tower
Detail of Castle chimneys Thornbury.twochimneys.arp.750pix.jpg
Detail of Castle chimneys
Thornbury Castle chimney detail, brickwork built in 1514 Thornbury.chimney.detail.arp.750pix.jpg
Thornbury Castle chimney detail, brickwork built in 1514

See also

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  1. Sir John Summerson, Architecture in Britain 1530-1830, 9th ed. 1993:23.
  2. Letters & Papers Henry VIII, vol. 8, (1885), no. 989, the King's Gestes (advance plan) 5 July 1535; correspondence of Cromwell & his servants at Thornbury, vol. 9 (1886), nos. 114, 155, 124, 157.
  3. 'Toast: The Story of a Boy's Hunger', Fourth Estate Ltd, ( ISBN   1-84115-289-7, 2003) or HarperPerennial ( ISBN   0-7011-7287-8, 2004)
  4. Mullinger, Lucy. "Life… An Ever Changing Recipe". ELocaL COMMUNITY MAGAZINE -. Archived from the original on 10 February 2013. Retrieved 31 December 2018.