Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know that I am currently undertaking jury duty. My name hasn't come out of the magical hat yet to actually sit on a jury, which means that I'm spending seven hours a day sitting in a jury waiting room with nothing to do apart from read one book after the other. Aw, shucks.
Currently I'm working my way through Philippa Gregory's The Virgin's Lover, which is a highly entertaining account of the early years of Elizabeth 1's reign. A number of grand Elizabethan palaces and houses are featured in the book, so when I got home today I decided to look them up on the tinternet and see what they looked like. And they look pretty cool, so I thought I'd share them with you.
So without further ado, here is some prime Elizabethan real estate for your viewing pleasure.
Elizabeth 1 spent most of her childhood at Hatfield House, a rather splendid mansion 21 miles north of London. She was at Hatfield when she first heard of the death of her half sister, Mary Tudor, and therefore her accession to the throne:
Yeah, it's all right, isn't it?
Check out this casa - just a simple home for two (hundred):
This is Burghley, built over a 32 year period by Sir William Cecil, chief counsellor and general fixer to the young Elizabeth 1. It has 35 major rooms, and over 80 minor rooms.
And finally, here's Syon Park - once the family home of Robert Dudley (widely believed to be Elizabeth 1's lover, or at least an adamant suitor for her hand in marriage):
Looks quite dinky compared to Burghley, huh? Well, check out this conservatory, which is just one of many buildings languishing in the grounds:
Hmm, maybe Syon Park isn't so small after all.
Syon was confiscated from the Dudley family by Mary Tudor after the family masterminded the marriage of Lady Jane Grey to a Dudley son (the wedding took place at Syon Park), following which Lady Jane reigned as Queen of England for nine days before being displaced by Mary, who subsequently executed her. Are you keeping up? Blimey, we English don't half have a complex and blood-thirsty history.
Which house do you like best?
Psst! If you like this, you may also like...
Interiors: Light and airy Notting Hill Home
Travel: A little tour of Venice
I'm Loving It: An autumn midnight picnic