‘Bedtime Stories’ – by Night Porter Tim Norton
Tim Norton, one of our Night Porters regularly gives evening talks to our guests on the history of Ragdale and he also likes to include a bit of local history. I’m sure you’ll find this information about Bradgate Park very interesting.
A Queens’ estate visible from Ragdale? Yes, on a clear day. Look out over the tennis courts and on the horizon you can normally see the high ground of Bradgate, the birthplace of Lady Jane Grey.
The nine day Queen, born 1537 was sent away to be a Lady in Waiting at the age of 10 with the hope of her being married off to Henry the Eighth’s sickly son Edward. Unfortunately, Edward died at 15 before this could happen so her father
and the dead Kings advisor, the Duke of Northumberland tried to push the unknowing and unwilling Jane as next in succession instead of Edward’s half sister Mary Tudor. The idea being that they would be the power behind the throne enhanced by the forced marriage of Jane to Northumberland’s son, Lord Guildford Dudley – who they hoped would then be proclaimed King by Jane.
On 10th July 1553 Jane was proclaimed Queen but she refused to name her husband King. Meanwhile Mary Tudor, despite being Catholic, had the support of the people whilst those forced to support Jane melted away forcing her father to easily persuade her to relinquish the crown after nine days.
Jane and her husband were beheaded for high treason on 12th February 1554, her father two days later. Bradgate was taken away from the Grey family at this time but returned later, Bradgate House being abandoned in 1750 due to its size and cost of upkeep and is just ruins today.
Bradgate country park was given to the people of Leicestershire in the 1920’s and is today a very beautiful place to visit.