Monday, 11 March 2013

Kimbolton Castle

If you have read my blog for any length of time you know my husband is fascinated by medieval history while I tend to favor the Tudor Era.  I am fascinated with Henry the VIII and all his wives but mostly the first two, Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boylen.  Kimbolton Castle is only open a few times a year, and it is the location in which Katherine of Aragon spent the last 20 months of her life.  I have wanted to see it for a long time and we finally had the opportunity last weekend.

The original castle was a moat and bailey

This is its current appearance, quite a change.  In addition it is now a  private elite school.  The principal office is now in what used to be Katherine of Aragon's bedroom:)

There are 4 entrances to the castle

We were told the trees are red sequoia trees that line the gardens

The famous stairwell painted by Giovanni Pellegrini 
This scene is reportedly the best preserved wall mural in England and can be found in many art books

The gateway to the castle which in Victorian times held the brewery and laundry. Now currently for the school it holds the shop and janitor quarters.

Castle chapel

Inner courtyard of the castle
Katherine of Aragon spent the last 20 months of her life here in almost complete isolation.   

This is a copy of the letter she wrote to King Henry right before she died.

Sir John Popham lived at the castle and had the most interesting life story.  He started off as a part time highwayman to pay for his schooling and then ended up as Attorney General and then later Chief Justice.  There is also a ghost story around the castle referring to the time Sir John came home to his crying daughter and threw her out the window.  He was never charged with her murder:(

It is always fun to tour these old building and learn about the history.  While the castle doesn't look anything like when Katherine of Aragon lived there due to the many renovations over the years, it was still fun to see and it was interesting to see how they changed this grand home into a operating school.


  1. I live precariously through you, my friend. Since I can't be there myself, I'm so glad you share your experiences here for everyone to enjoy. And trust me, I really enjoy your posts. :)


  2. That looks like a beautiful castle. My daughter has been reading a series of young adult books by Carolyn Meyer on Henry VIII wives. She tells me about them all the time. I bet she would really love to see this castle.

  3. Fascinating-I knew nothing about this before.

  4. Gorgeous.....I love this stuff! Thanks for sharing...


  5. This was a great picture tour. I especially loved the letter written by Katherine to her husband. I am curious now to read more about her. I remember the names but not the circumstances. I love history and here is another wonderful adventure.

  6. That is definitely one of the prettiest castles that I have ever seen! Katherine of Aragon's letter is heart wrenching. Why did Sir John Popham throw his daughter out the window?