Beautiful Cambridgeshire Village – Historic Buckden Towers

Buckden High Street – used to be the A1

On our recent trip up North we visited an old haunt of mine at Buckden in Cambridgeshire.  It was the first time I have ever driven to Buckden, my trips in years past were taken on the National Coach service which dropped me and my friends outside our destination at Buckden Towers, which lies behind the red brick wall in the picture above.

It is not always a good thing to visit a place where you have many happy memories, but I went back to Buckden after 30 years and found the place very little changed.  I used to stay at Buckden Towers and I went back and paid a visit with H who was fascinated by the place.

The Inner Gatehouse at Buckden Towers – happy memories

Buckden Towers is full of history, it was the residence of the Bishops of Lincoln and was a very rich and powerful place.  The original building on the site was a wooden one and the first stone buildings were built in 1272.  The older parts of the Towers as they now stand were completed in about 1482 and the former medieval house became a palace.

The Victorians did a lot of demolition of the old buildings and changed the name of the new Victorian house on the site to Buckden Towers.

Bucken Palace was most famous as the place where Katherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII, was sent after Henry VIII decided to divorce her so that he could marry Anne Boleyn.  Katherine of Aragon found the damp Cambridgeshire climate affected her health badly and asked to be moved to nearby Kimbolton Castle where she later died.

Henry VIII himself later stayed at Buckden Towers with his fifth wife, Katherine Howard.  They broke their journey on King Henry’s Northern Progress.  Unfortunately for Katherine Howard she was later found to have a lover and King Henry, even though said to be broken-hearted, had her executed.  There is every possibility that Katherine Howard entertained her lover while the Progress halted at Buckden Towers.  Other visitors to Buckden included Margaret Beaufort, Henry VIII’s grandmother, who stayed in 1501 while her son Henry VII was the first Tudor King.

Buckden Towers showing part of the Inner Gate House and the Keep

It was good to visit Buckden Towers again after so many years.  It was fun to be able to tell H my favourite ghost story.  I am pretty sure that I came across a real ghost at Buckden when I was walking out from the Keep to the Gatehouse late one evening.    Rumour has it that the area near the old chapel is haunted by the ghost of Katherine of Aragon.  Who knows, I may have been in the presence of Royalty!

Read a little bit more about Katherine of Aragon and her life including her time at Buckden.  I have read this book by Alison Weir who is a noted historian as well as the writer of popular historical fiction and this book is excellently researched as well as very readable.

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