Who lived at the Palace?
After Henry VII’s accession to The Throne of England in 1485 he bequeathed the Manor of Collyweston to his mother Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby.
At the time Lady Margaret was married to Thomas Lord Stanley but in 1499 after acquiring Collyweston she took a vow of chastity and, although he had his own apartment here, Stanley spent most of his time tending his own affairs and estate. Lady Margaret then set about improving and extending the Manor House, which had previously been rebuilt and extended by Ralph, Lord Cromwell, a highly regarded Chancellor to Henry V.
By the early C16 the Manor had become the favourite home of Lady Margaret and it is well recorded that she spent more time at Collyweston than at any of her other residencies, and she had quite a few!
In 1503 Henry VII secured a peace deal with the Scots by marrying his daughter, Margaret Tudor, to James IV of Scotland. The extensive pre wedding celebrations, which apparently lasted 2 weeks or more(!) took place at Collyweston with yet another improvement being made to the house to accommodate the King, who had travelled to Collyweston with his daughter leaving her in the charge of Thomas Howard, Early of Surry, to continue her journey. It must have been a magnificent sight as the wedding entourage processed along what is now the A43 accompanied by trumpeters, Lords and Ladies, their belongings and households.
Earlier, prior to the death of Henry VII's heir Arthur, the King's second son Henry (VIII) spent many hours in the care of his grandmother. Whilst there is no formal record of his childhood, Henry was very close to his grandmother and she played a significant part in his education and upbringing; it is therefore quite likely that he would have spent many days playing in the extensive gardens, deer park and meadows at Collyweston. Both he and his grandmother shared a love of hunting.
When Henry VII died, Henry VIII was too young to ascend to the throne so Lady Margaret became Regent and effectively ran the country until Henry reached maturity at the age of 18. Sadly 2 weeks after his coronation Lady Margaret died at Westminster having eaten a cygnet at the banquet! A sad end to a remarkable Lady.
At this point Collyweston passed back into the hands of The Crown and Henry VIII is recorded as holding Court here ion 16th and 17th October 1541. Upon leaving Collyweston to travel to York Henry encountered a problem on his entry to Stamford ‘in the Autumn of 1541 he settled a dispute between the Sherriff of Northampton, the Aldermen of Stamford and the Bailiff of Peterborough, about their respective privileges, and the manner of their attendance upon his Majesty when passing through the parish of St Martin in Stamford’ (Proceedings and Ordinances of the Privy Concil of England,Vol II, Ed. Sir Harris Nichols, 1837)
During his reign Henry VIII bequeathed what had now become a "palace fit and neate for a Kynge" to his new, and unfortunate Queen Ann Boleyn. We are yet to find any records of her staying here but she may have visited even though her term of office only lasted a few months! We are still on the hunt!
Following Anne's demise the Manor was granted to Henry Fitzroy, Henry VIII's illegitimate son of another of Henry's mistresses Elizabeth Blount. Henry Fitzroy is recorded as staying at Collyweston in 1535. http://www.tudorplace.com.ar/aboutHenryFitzroy.htm
The next, and as far as we can tell, last Royal to stay at Collyweston was Queen Elizabeth I who is recorded as holding court here on 3rd August 1566. On page 204/205 of the book Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth, Vol I the following is recorded.
However, from the records held at the National Archives, it seems possible that Elizabeth may visited several times as there are various 'books of repairs' relating to Collyweston detailing the names and sums paid to local tradesmen.
In 2012 Collyweston received one final Royal visit when Queen Elizabeth II passed through the village on her Royal Tour of the area travelling from Stamford to Corby. Thank you to Dr Chris Brookings for the photo.