Friday, July 1, 2005
“Keep your faith” is the motto of
The Samuel Pepys library at
The chapel at Magdalene is OLD. Its wooden ceiling dates back to the 1400s. Somehow, somebody managed to protect it from the ravages of the reformation.
Tom, trying to look faithful in the chapel.
The hedges at Audley End are a marvel in and of themselves. I didn’t take photos of the house – it was just too much.
Window in the
We returned to
But here’s more about the end of our trip there.
Carol and Ron came up from Oxfordshire and spent the night
with us in
Tom and I both felt strangely drawn to
But when Thomas Lord Audley died in 1544, he left no endowment for the college and it struggled for centuries. Audley End, on the other hand, eventually became an unbelievably opulent property. It was so wonderful that Charles II decided he had to have it for himself and it served for a while as a Royal palace.
While I adored the magnificent collection of paintings and furniture at Audley End, I was also keenly aware of the horrible poverty that most people in the area were enduring at the time Audley End was soaking up resources. To know that people who called themselves nobility really gained their wealth by thievery and bullying in feudal times is unnerving. I like to remind myself that the Queen, like me, is descended from some pathetic, struggling hunter-gatherer wretch. And the extreme social and economic stratification of our world just goes on and on.
Back to Thomas Lord Audley. He became the Lord Chancellor during Henry VIII’s reign, and he presided over the trials and executions of Sir Thomas More and Ann Boleyn. He also helped Henry dump two of his wives. Thomas started out from nothing, became a lawyer, and rose through the ranks by being a very good friend and yes-man for Henry VIII.
His descendents married very well and eventually the family was connected to several houses of nobility. Alas, finally, the family had come down a few notches and they had to give up Audley End. It is now beautifully preserved and presented by English Heritage – there for all to enjoy, even the descendents of those who were badly mistreated by the likes of Audley and his relatives.
I must note that some more recent and respectable descendents
of Audley, namely people with names like
A wonderful aspect of