3.Henry VIII. Palace builder
When Henry VIII died in 1547, he owned more than 60 residences and houses. However none of the the other buildings came close to Hampton Court in importance to him.
Henry finalised the building works at Hampton Court Palace in about 1540.By this time the palace was one of the most progressive and magnificent in the country.
He had constucted tennis courts, bowling alleys and pleasure gardens for recreation.There was a hunting park of more than 1,100 acres,vast sprawling kitchens covering 36,000 square feet, a fine chapel, a huge communal dining room (called the Great Hall) and a multiple garderobe (or lavatory) – known as the Great House of Easement.This lavatory could sit 28 people at a time and water flowed to the palace from Coombe Hill in Kingston, three miles away, through lead pipes.
All of Henry’s six wives came through the palace and for most he had new and lavish lodgings.Henry also refashioned his own quarters at least half a dozen times.
The palace also provided accommodation for each of the King’s children and for a large number of courtiers, visitors and servants.
Henry used Hampton Court to impress. Probably the most famous incident happened in August 1546 when Henry feasted and hosted the French ambassador and his entourage of over two hundred gentlemen.This was as well as 1,300 members of his own court and for a peroiod of six days. A large camp of gold and velvet tents surrounded the palace for the occasion.
However, leass than a year later, Henry was dead, with three surviving children – the 9-year old Prince Edward and his older sisters Mary and Elizabeth. Each would rule England, and Hampton Court would continue to play an important part in the lives of the Tudor monarchs….