Hunsdon House

In 1525 Henry VIII acquired from the second Duke of Norfolk the splendid brick-built mansion at Hunsdon that had been built in the 1450s by Sir William Oldhall. It was a huge brick tower some 100ft high and 80ft square. Henry commissioned an extension of the house, mainly to provide new lodgings and a long gallery for himself. The king used it a bit in the 1520s but later in his reign it became one of the principal nursery houses, Princess Mary and Prince Edward staying there often. In a portrait of Edward VI in the Royal Collection Hunsdon can be seen clearly in the background and the top of the tower can be made out.

Edward VI granted the house to Princess Mary, and afterwards Elizabeth I granted it to her cousin, Henry Carey, who she created Lord Hunsdon. The house was almost completely rebuilt in the early nineteenth century but there are some remains of the fifteenth century structures on site including a cellar. Excavations in the gardens have revealed extensive brickwork and it is likely that much of the royal house remains beneath the turf.