Follow in Queen Mary I’s Footsteps

By, CC BY 3.0,

There are several places that are closely associated with Mary, though not all survive. You can follow in Mary’s footsteps in these places. This is by no means a complete list.

Mary was born at the Palace of Placentia in Greenwich, and she was christened in the Church of the Observant Friars, which was next to the palace. Unfortunately, this palace and the church no longer exists as they were demolished upon the restoration of Charles II and the Royal Naval College was built on the site. There is a plaque remembering the former palace.

By Richard Croft, CC BY-SA 2.0
Palace of Placentia by Richard Croft, CC BY-SA 2.0
Palace of Placentia (Public Domain)

Mary was never officially created Princess of Wales but she was sent to Ludlow Castle to preside over the Council of Wales and the Marches. She was based at Ludlow for three years and sometimes visited other properties in the area, such as Tickenhill Palace, where the proxy marriage between her mother and Prince Arthur had taken place in 1499. While Tickenhill Palace is now replaced with an 18th century manor house, Ludlow Castle still stands, though in ruins. One of the castles Mary visited in the area which still stands is Thornbury Castle and it is now a hotel.

Ludlow Castle
Ludlow Castle (Public Domain)
Thornbury Castle
Thornbury Castle (Public Domain)
jones-views-hunsdon-house small
Hunsdon House (Public Domain)

After Mary had been recalled from Wales in 1528, she spent most of her time near London. She frequently resided in the manor of Hunsdon in Hertfordshire. Though it has undergone a lot of renovations and expansions, Hunsdon still stands.

Mary was living in the Palace of Beaulieu until 1533, when she was evicted, and the Palace was given to Anne Boleyn’s brother, George. She returned to the Palace in 1537 when she was granted the use of the Royal Residences again. Some of it survives to this day and is still in use. The Palace of Beaulieu was excavated in 2009, and you can see this in the 2009 episode of Time Team: Henry VIII’s Lost Palaces.

Palace of Beaulieu circa 1580
Palace of Beaulieu circa 1580 (Public Domain)

Mary was sent to live in the household of her half-sister Elizabeth at Hatfield, and it was a rather unhappy time for her. The Old Palace at Hatfield was built in 1497 and was seized by Henry VIII.  Mary lived there until 1536, serving Princess Elizabeth. Three wings of the palace were torn down in 1608. Hatfield is open to the public, mainly dedicated to Elizabeth I, who spent much of her youth there and it was at Hatfield that Elizabeth was informed of Mary’s death in 1558.

Hatfield House Old Palace
Hatfield House Old Palace (Public Domain)

After this, she spent time at Hertford Castle, where Prince Edward also lived. She received the castle during Edward’s reign and spent a great deal of time there. It was given to the Hertford Town Council and its gatehouse houses the Council’s offices, but the grounds may be visited by the public.


Hertford Castle
Hertford Castle (Public Domain)

Richmond Palace, as a royal residence, was also used by Mary. Richmond Palace stood on the opposite bank from the Palace of Westminster. It was erected in 1501 by Henry VII, who was previously known as Earl of Richmond. Mary spent part of her honeymoon at Richmond Palace. The Palace suffered during the interregnum, and it was never rebuilt. Some of it remains, such as the Gatehouse, the Wardrobe and the Trumpeters’ House. It too was part of an episode of Team Time.

Richmond Palace
Richmond Palace (Public Domain)

The Palace of Westminster was also used by Mary. The Palace of Westminster was built in the 11th century and was one of the monarch’s principal residences. Much of the palace was destroyed in 1512 by fire and by 1534 the Palace of Whitehall became one of the principal residences. Westminster was again the victim of fire in 1834. The only surviving parts are Westminster Hall, the Jewel Tower, the Undercroft Chapel, the Cloisters and Chapter House of St Stephen’s. It is currently the centre of political life in the UK.

The Palace of Westminster during the reign of Henry VIII
The Palace of Westminster during the reign of Henry VIII (Public Domain)

After she was reinstated in the line of succession she also had lodgings at Whitehall Palace. Whitehall was the main residence of the English monarch from 1530 to 1698. Previously known as York Place, it was owned by Cardinal Wolsey, and Henry VIII took York Place as the Cardinal fell from favour. Mary’s father died at the Palace in 1547. The Palace burned down in 1698. Only the Banqueting House survives to this day and can be visited.

Palace of Whitehall
Palace of Whitehall (Public Domain)

In her father’s will Mary received no lands but she received the manor of Kenninghall and the castle of Framlingham from the Regency Council. Kenninghall was a favourite residence of Mary in the period from 1547 to 1553. She rode from Kenninghall when she was first informed of Edward’s death and en route she stopped at Sawston Hall, which was burned down within hours of her departure.  She stopped at Framlingham Castle as it was a great castle capable of defence, should it be necessary. The Manor of Kenninghall does not survive to this day. The Castle of Framlingham survives and is open to the public. Sawston Hall was rebuilt after the fire and it is currently privately owned.

By Squeezyboy from UK - Framlingham Castle, CC BY 2.0
By Squeezyboy from UK – Framlingham Castle, CC BY 2.0
Sawston Hall
Sawston Hall (Public Domain)

Mary succeeded her brother after the brief disputed reign of Lady Jane Grey and she was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 1 October 1553. Westminster Abbey dates from 1042 and has been the traditional site of the coronation of the English monarch and it was also the site of 16 royal weddings since 1100. Most of the Kings and Queen of England until about 1760 are buried in Westminster Abbey, including Mary. She is sadly separated from her mother, with whom she wished to be buried, but Catherine remains at Peterborough Cathedral.

By Σπάρτακος - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.
Westminster Abbey by Σπάρτακος – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Mary faced a rebellion just six months after her coronation and rode to Guildhall in London, where she made a speech and was cheered on by the public.Guildhall’s current building dates from 1411 and was also used from the trials of several important people. Guildhall is still used today, and it houses an art gallery.

By Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0,
Guildhall by Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Having faced down the rebellion Mary was now free to marry Philip of Spain and the wedding took place at Winchester Cathedral on 25 July 1554. Winchester Cathedral was built from 1079 and was the site of a few coronations, weddings and some burials of the early Kings. Mary arrived a few days early and stayed at the Bishop’s Palace. The Bishop’s Palace was erected between 1130 and 1136 and was destroyed by Roundheads during the English Civil War in 1646. Winchester Cathedral survives to this day and the Bishop’s Palace (also known as Wolvesey Castle) stands in ruins.

By, CC BY 3.0,
Winchester Cathedral by, CC BY 3.0
Wolvesey Castle by Mike Peel (, CC BY-SA 4.0
Wolvesey Castle by Mike Peel CC BY-SA 4.0

Mary soon believed herself to be pregnant and withdrew to Hampton Court for the birth of the child. A child was never born and Mary left Hampton Court after a wait of five months and stayed briefly at Oatlands Palace. Hampton Court Palace also belonged to Cardinal Wolsey and he gave the palace to Henry VIII, perhaps hoping to save himself. Henry greatly expanded it. Mary’s brother Edward VI was born here and Edward’s mother died here. Oatlands Palace was acquired by Henry VIII in 1538 and he greatly expanded it for Anne of Cleves, his fourth wife. Henry married his fifth wife, Catherine Howard at Oatlands Palace and his sixth wife, Catherine Parr also spent time there.  Hampton Court survives to this day, though it was greatly altered by her namesake Mary II and her husband. Oatlands Palace no longer exists, having been dismantled after the execution of Charles I. A hotel now stands on the site.

Oatlands Palace
Oatlands Palace (Public Domain)
Hampton Court Palace by Steve Cadman from London, U.K. - Hampton Court, CC BY-SA 2.0
Hampton Court Palace by Steve Cadman from London, U.K. – Hampton Court, CC BY-SA 2.0

Mary’s health failed her in the autumn in 1558 and she died while she was at St. James’s Palace. The Palace was commissioned by her father on the site of leper hospital. Her half-brother, Henry Fitzroy also died at the palace in 1536. George III found the palace too small for his growing family and they spent more and more time at Buckingham House, later Buckingham Palace. St. James’s Palace is still the official residence of the sovereign, but most of the Tudor apartments no longer exists. Mary’s heart was interred in the Chapel Royal at St James’s, but her body was buried in Westminster Abbey in a tomb that she would later share with her half-sister Elizabeth. St. James’s Palace is not open to the public.

By Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK - St James's Palace Uploaded by oxyman, CC BY 2.0
By Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK – St James’s Palace Uploaded by oxyman, CC BY 2.0

About Moniek Bloks 2764 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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