Date: Saturday 18 August, 2012 - Sunday 19 August, 2012
Time: 10.30am to 4pm
Preparing Cowdray for the 1591 Royal Visit
It was a big deal in the 16th Century, as now, if royalty came to stay. At Cowdray, Queen Elizabeth I stayed for a week in August 1591, and the preparations must have been mind-boggling. Over the weekend of 18th and 19th August, Cowdray Heritage Trust will present a Tudor re-enactment at the house, portraying the hustle and bustle of a noble household preparing for this most important royal visitor.
The owner of Cowdray at the time, the First Viscount Montague, Anthony Browne, was a highly regarded member of the Tudor court, despite his Catholic connections. It was common for Elizabeth to go on “progress” around the country to stay at noblemen’s houses in the summer season, and in 1591 she took in Guildford, Farnham and then Cowdray. It was unusual for her to stay for more than a couple of days, so the 7-day Cowdray visit would have been a great privilege for the hosts. Cowdray’s entire household of 200 people would have spent many weeks preparing the house for Elizabeth’s entourage of 200 attendants to move in on August 15th.
The event at Cowdray on August 18th and 19th will demonstrate some of the preparations that are likely to have taken place prior to the royal visit. Visitors will walk through the Tudor encampment where costumed re-enactors will display some of the skills needed at the time, such as archery to defend the house, music and dancing to entertain, and food preparation fit for a Queen. The whole of Cowdray’s historic site will be used, including the authentic and unchanged Tudor kitchen, and the vaulted Wine Cellars.
Visitors benefit from a 25% discount on normal ticket prices by quoting the name “Browne” at the ticket desk on arrival. A family ticket for 2 adults and up to 3 children is normally £16, adults £6.50 and concessions £5.50, with under fives free. The event, which promises to be a magical time to visit historic Cowdray, is open from 10.30am to 4pmon both Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th August.