We drove to this most splendid of castles yesterday, 20th June 2015 as my wife was attending a wedding ceremony. Close to the M5 the castle is well signed on approach and surrounded by the beautiful Gloucestershire countryside.
Close to the castle is St. Mary Church which is simply stunning from every angle you view it from.
Thornbury Castle is located 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.
The site was occupied by a manor house in 930. Building work began on this grand castle in 1511 and was intended as a home for Edward Stafford, the Duke of Buckingham. The castle was almost finished by 1521, when the Duke’s distant cousin, Henry VIII, accused him of treason, then had him beheaded and confiscated his castle.
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.
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 as part of a honeymoon tour.
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.
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 and MasterChef New Zealand judge Simon Gault early in their culinary careers.
The castle is now a 26-room luxury hotel and restaurant, and a venue for weddings.
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