The lovely, and somewhat compact, St Mary’s Church in the grounds of Sudeley Castle is the final resting place of Katherine Parr, Henry VIII’s sixth wife and the only one to survive him. She is the only queen to be buried on private land.
A church has stood here since around 1070 but the current church was built in around 1460 on the orders of Lord Sudeley.
Katherine Parr, who had been living with her new husband Thomas Seymour at Sudeley died not long after giving birth to a daughter in 1548. Chief mourner was her ward, Lady Jane Grey, who would go on to be Queen for 9 days and then be executed as a traitor in the Tower of London by Mary I. Katherine’s husband did not attend the funeral – instead he went to pursue the future Elizabeth I, unsuccessfully.
The tomb you see here was erected in 1887; originally she had been interred in a lead coffin in the crypt but in 1644, during the English Civil War, Parliamentary troops were stationed at the castle and they desecrated the church, destroying Katherine’s original memorial.
As well as Katherine’s tomb the one striking aspect of the church is the beautiful stained glass windows, inserted in 1862. Many of them are depictions of historic figures such as Henry VIII, Lady Jane Grey and Katherine Parr herself.
If you have been in the Castle don’t forget to have a look inside the Church, it’s a lovely little building and well worth it for the history alone.
You can find more of my photos here.