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History Trip to Hampton Court - A Student Review

A student review of the recent trip to Hampton Court...

Arriving at school with sleepy parents and even sleepier students at 7:45 am, the SGGS A-level students made their way to Hampton Court: Cardinal Wolsey’s most treasured property, it was also home to Henry VIII and his many wives, as well as William and Mary of Orange.

After a coach journey where many of us caught up on sleep and a small minority stayed awake, we made it to Hampton Court. Firstly, we made our way to Henry’s kitchen, where we discovered the vast inner workings of the Tudor court and observed how servants prepared for the splendid banquets of Tudor times.  We then made our way to the Chapel Royal, an example of the Grand Tudor opulence at Hampton Court, where it is rumoured to house the heart of Jane Seymour.  It was here in the Chapel that Archbishop Cranmer handed Henry VIII a letter outlining the accusations against the King’s new wife, Catherine Howard.

Afterwards, we explored Tudor art, including the painting of the Field of the Cloth of Gold, and had an insight into the life of the young Henry VIII and the beginnings of the reformation, including the scandalous affair with Anne Boleyn, resulting in the King’s ‘Great Matter’.

We broke off for lunch, with some students perusing the Georgian sections of Hampton Court as built by William and Mary of Orange and littered with renaissance art.  Some of us however, found ourselves being stared down by the overly-ambitious Hampton court ducks, vying for bread!  After lunch, we had the opportunity to have Hampton Court’s very own experts giving us insight into the Reformation, from the very place where it all began. We toured Henry’s apartments, even re-enacting scenes from Henry’s life and the reformation, including the story of John Lambert, who was burned on the orders of Henry VIII in 1538. This tour of Hampton Court focused on the driving forces of the reformation, trying to determine if the main causes really were ‘dosh, doctrine or divorce’, or perhaps something greater.

With aching legs from walking up and down the Tudor halls and Georgian masterpieces, it was time to head home, after a truly invaluable trip, (thanks to Mr Giles and Mrs Smith) with only a few students being chased down by ducks...!