Date(s) - Monday 8 April 2024
8:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Duke Street Church
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Sheen – known from 1501 as Richmond – held a very special place in the lives of many English monarchs from Edward II to Elizabeth I.
The royal palace elicited dramatic scenes of passions, piety and power, from its tearing-down by a grief-stricken Richard II after the death here of his cherished queen, to its renaming and lavish reconstruction by Henry VII, earl of Richmond, as his glittering principal seat.
Henry V, another great builder, made it the centre of the most impressive monastic complex of its day – Sheen Priory – where the cloistered monks and nuns kept up an unceasing round of prayer for crown and kingdom, and pilgrims thronged for forgiveness of their sins. From here too came many royal spiritual advisors, leading intellectuals whose opposition to Henry VIII’s divorce brought terrible consequences for some: gruesome martyrdom and exile. Afterwards, ghostly monastic hauntings were reported in the priory’s ruins…
Dr Elizabeth Hallam Smith, FSA, FRHistS, is Historical Research Consultant, Architecture and Heritage, at the Houses of Parliament. Her publications include The Plantagenet Chronicles series and studies of the Palace of Westminster and medieval monasticism. She lives in Richmond.