Many of us watched the TV version of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, showing a nicely unsanitised view of the Tudor world. Wolf Hall itself, of course, is the grand manor where Henry met his third wife, Jane Seymour–the one often described as ‘mousy’ but the ‘only one Henry loved’ (because she gave him a living son and then expired, giving him no need to remove her head.)
Wolf Hall, which stood near Burbage in Wiltshire, vanished centuries ago after becoming derelict as early as 1571, only 40 years after it was built, undoubtedly due to the decline in the family fortunes, which included several beheadings… The church in Great Bedwyn still retains some original glass saved from the hall; it also boasts the stunning tomb of Jane’s father and some other highly interesting memorials of the period.
After the remains of the ruined hall were completely demolished in the 1700’s, another house was built near the place where the great manor house once stood. Nothing remained above ground. But this year there has been an excavation of the site, and Wolf Hall has, after all these centuries, been found–the archaeologists have now revealed the plan of two hexagonal towers and an amazingly complete brick sewers, along with a collection of painted tiles.
The present Wolf Hall below (1700’s)