Ewelme Manor, Henry VII and what the manor house may have looked like….

Ewelme almshouses and church

“….Henry VII, doubtless after having taken good stock of the amenities of Ewelme Manor, during his self-proposed visit to Edmund de la Pole before the latter’s banishment, decided that it would be well-fitted for a country retreat, later on to be converted into a Royal Palace. In fact, it may have become to the King a sort of Naboth’s vineyard. Shortly afterwards Henry found the excuse he wanted for the unfortunate Edmund’s banishment, so that once more the estate became confiscate, and it was a simple matter for Henry to arrange to take over the Manor and grounds, to rebuild and enlarge the house and so convert it into an abode worthy to be a King’s pleasance….”

The above extract is from this site, which I came upon purely by chance. The article describes Henry, aka Old Miseryguts, as being of an “economical turn of mind”, which is certainly one way of putting it. Anyway, he chose to impose himself upon the owner of Ewelme Manor, Edmund de la Pole (the de la Poles rose to be Dukes of Suffolk and were responsible for the famous alms houses and school), who was about to be banished. The de la Poles, of course, had been a thorn in Henry’s side, John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, being misguided enough to be on Richard III’s side. Henry wasn’t one to forgive such misjudgement. So he acquired Ewelme and turned it into a royal residence which became known as Ewelme Palace. I guess he must have been persuaded to spend a fair sum.

But what was it about Ewelme that so took his fancy? (Apart from the fact that it belonged to someone else.) I decided to look a little more into this apparently desirable property, and thus came upon this site this site. The site contains many headings, so is quite substantial.

The original manor buildings have long since gone, so the above Country Life article seeks to recreate what the de la Poles had built that so took Henry’s fancy. We know a great deal about it because in 1612, two gentlemen were sent there with a royal commission to value the remains of the manor house. Their survey was very detailed and descriptive, so that today it’s possible to “rebuild” it in our mind’s eye. Read the article to see what I mean.

To read a very informative history of Ewelme go to British History Online.

PS: Ewelme also has ghosts, fairies and witches!

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2 comments

  1. Henry was also down on the De La Poles because, if the precontract story was accepted, the De La Pole family, as children of a daughter of Richard, Duke of York, were the Yorkist heirs.

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