During my exploration of Lincolnshire I visited Holy Trinity church at Tattershall.
Having received a charter from Henry VI to demolish the old Norman church of St Peter and St Paul, Ralph, 3rd Baron Cromwell, began his new church in 1439. It was not until 1500 that it was completed and the intervening years saw the power struggle between the Yorkist and Lancastrian kings that is known as the Wars of the Roses.
In August 1453 a wedding took place in the church between Maud, the niece and co-heiress of Lord Cromwell, and Sir Thomas Neville. There is an interesting short essay displayed in the church that explains some of the significance of this marriage. Rather than repeat it all, I’ve added my photo of it below. Click to enlarge:
If you don’t want to read it all, or can’t make the text large enough it basically explains that this marriage led to bad feeling between the Nevilles and the Percys of Northumberland to the extent that there was a pitched battle at Heworth Moor in Yorkshire as Thomas Neville took his new bride home. The troubles, as was common in the middle ages, centred around land and in particular the manors of Wressle and Burwell which had once belonged to the Percys, but had been given to Lord Cromwell by Henry VI. It then goes on to explain a little about the roles of these families in the Wars of the Roses.
Another interesting feature of the church is the tiny grave of ‘Tom Thumb’ a local resident who died in 1620. It is lovingly marked with flowers and a short poem in his honour.
The church also has a small tea room at the back of the nave, where drinks and home made cakes are served and is worth a visit for that alone.
Ralph, 3rd Baron Cromwell, also demolished his ancestors nearby stone castle to make way for a new brick built one which was also constructed during the 1440s. The whole area must have been one vast building site during those years. But as Lord Treasurer to Henry VI he certainly had the resources to show off his wealth and status.
I didn’t have time to go inside the castle on this visit so I’m hoping to go again sometime when I have more time and I’m able to climb all those steps! Meanwhile there’s a short history of the building here: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-tattershallcastle/w-tattershallcastle-brief_history.htm