Mid Anglia Group, Richard III Society

Archive for the tag “Thomas Cromwell”

Audley End

The present house at Audley End is, like Hatfield House, a seventeenth century building on the site of an earlier structure. In particular, Walden Abbey was here until the Dissolution in 1538 and passed to Sir Thomas Audley, Town Clerk of Colchester, Speaker and later Lord Chancellor, as a result, much as St. John’s Abbey became a Lucas residence. This Sir Thomas was not related to the Lancastrian Lords Audley (Tuchet), the seventh of whom was attainted and executed in 1497 after the First Cornish Rebellion, but whose title remains, albeit in abeyance, however he presided over treason cases such as Fisher and More, Anne Boleyn et al, the Pilgrimage of Grace, Montague-Exeter and Thomas Cromwell.

After his death in 1544, the widowed 4th Duke of Norfolk married Margaret, his daughter, so that their son, Lord Thomas Howard, was created Lord Audley de Walden in 1597 and Earl of Suffolk in 1603, also being the custodian of Framlingham Castle. Audley End House as we know it was constructed soon after this, before his 1619 arrest and brief Tower incarceration.

Like Hatfield, Audley End is best visited from our region by travelling west to Cambridge to join the southbound Birmingham-Stansted line. Unlike Hatfield, whose driveway is immediately opposite the station, Audley End House is a mile and a quarter away from its eponymous station, such that a bus runs to Saffron Walden. Both house and garden are open between April and October, from Wednesday to Sunday, although the garden, partially designed by Brown and Adam, is open all year.


We know Richard III was first buried (and exhumed many years later) on 25 August and it seems logical, although we don’t know exactly, that John Howard, Duke of Norfolk was interred on the same day. So, it seemed to be the ideal date to visit the 1107 Cluniac Priory, which lies only five minutes from the station. It was a dry day, which is very helpful because Thomas Cromwell’s commissioners were ruthless in implementing the Dissolution and so is the Priory today. The foundations and first foot of the walls remain as well as more at the north end, away from the entrance gate. Norfolk was moved here to join his family a few years after 1485 but before about 1540, when they were taken to St. Michael’s, Framlingham.

The local Wetherspoon, in the market place, bears the Howard heraldic name of the Red Lion and I lunched in there. The walls were festooned with local history – from the Iceni, the Priory building to the Dissolution and the local factories – but I couldn’t photograph these because there were diners in the way. There was a poster about Ayrton Senna, who lived in Attleborough during his Lotus days.

Just round the back was the Dads’ Army Museum, which gave me two ideas about Edward IV. He had a brother with an apparent drink problem and, whilst married, had feelings towards a widow named Grey, both of which apply to Captain Mainwaring.

Some historical figures of Ipswich

Terry Hunt of the EADT writes here about some famous pechaucerople with Ipswich links: Chaucer (as an ancestor of Richard’s brother-in-law) and Wolsey (Richard’s contemporary) are obvious cases, as is Dickens. He doesn’t mention Thomas Cromwell (after whom the Square is named) but he does mention Charlie Chaplin, whose grandparents lived here.

September Newsletter 2015


We are sorry this has not been blogged before.

Christchurch Mansion

IMG_0123 IMG_0124 IMG_0126Yesterday, we made our extra visit for 2016, to Christchurch Mansion in the eponymous Ipswich Park. The building is generally reckoned to date from 1548 but may have adapted much of the Priory that previously occupied the site, instead of replacing it. The seven of us who gathered at the Park’s south gate, near St. Margaret’s Church, headed for the tea rooms first before emerging to explore the many themed rooms in the staple-shaped building.
Many of these were filled with artefacts from the centuries after the Mansion’s construction but it was also replete with art relating to the many prominent local families after which nearby roads are named – Withypoll, Fonnereau, Devereux and Neale – whilst there were also images of Charles I and the Puritan vandal William Dowsing, collections by Gainsborough and Constable and modern art by Picasso, Pisarro and others. We can be sure that, if the Priory was totally dissolved in 1536, it was not by Wolsey although Thomas Cromwell and Brian Tuke were among his secretaries and both outlived him.

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