Thanks for popping in.
I've been meaning to call in to the Easthampstead Park Conference Centre ever since I came across the fact that King Henry VII made the arrangements for the marriage of his son Prince Arthur and Catherine of Aragon there in 1501.
As you head up the long drive, an imposing Victorian mansion comes into view - in Jacobean style with curved gables, pierced stone parapet and stone frontispiece of naive classicism.
This is not the building, of course, where Arthur and his younger brother, the future King Henry VIII, danced with Catherine ten days prior to their marriage. Sadly after only being married for six months, Prince Arthur died and Catherine was betrothed to Henry. Five years later they married but when no male heir was born, Catherine returned to Easthampstead Park in 1531 where a messenger confirmed her divorce from King Henry VIII as he had his eye on his future second wife, Anne Boleyn, by then. Here's an older post of mine which is linked.
The Park had become a royal hunting lodge in 1350, the Lodge itself situated south of the current building on what is now a golf course. It contined as a hunting lodge and was gifted to William Trumbull by King Charles I and it passed through the generations of the family, the names changing to Sandys and Hill, who became Marquis of Downshire, as daughters inherited.
During WWII, the Marquis moved out to allow 600 boys from St Paul's in Hammersmith to use it. Boys were billeted in Crowthorne with great assistance by the WI and used Wellington College for their science labs and playing fields.
After the War, it was acquired by a Company Director but it caught fire in 1947, the Council bought it under compulsory purchase order and it went on to become a female teacher training college, an adult residential college, a comprehensive school, education centre until now it is primarily used as a conference centre and for wedding ceremonies and receptions.
Sitting on a bench by the fountain in the peaceful grounds, it is difficult to imagine those Tudor days of hunting, marriage and divorce.