For centuries, the people living in Collyweston, a small village in the middle of the UK, were told of a lost Tudor palace that used to host Kings and Queens of England. However, the palace was lost and couldn’t be found. To address this, a group of history buffs began an archaeological project to find it — and they have now done exactly that.
The Palace of Collyweston was an administrative center and home and venue for royal family gatherings. It was occupied by the mother of King Henry VII, Lady Margaret Beaufort, and frequently visited by Henry VII, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. It was also where a farewell was made to Margaret Tudor, who left to become Queen of the Scots.
In 2018, the local Collyweston Historical & Preservation Society, a group of amateur archaeologists, started a four-year project to try to find the castle. The first step was obtaining detailed drone footage of the area. They then applied for grants for the next steps, collecting about $17,500 that would be used for the digs to try to find the castle.
Chris Close, the chairperson of the group, told the Daily Mail that locals had different views on where the palace could be, but nobody knew how big it was. “Local hearsay was always saying there’s an area here called the palace gardens and everyone had their own independent views as to where we’d found this palace,” Close added.
The amateur archaeologists found the buried walls and foundations of the palace, which they believe used to be made of a large network of buildings – including a great hall, a jewel tower and guard houses. The structures were found located beneath the ground of seven properties in town, working together with the University of York.
While the archaeologists are confident they have found the palace, they still have many unresolved questions, including: where was the entrance to the palace? what was it made of? what was the layout? where was the banqueting house? Many of these questions may be resolved with a set of digs they hope to do in 2024.
The amateur archaeologists are also working on other projects, including the Henry on Tour project – aiming to find out what happened when Henry 8th arrived at palaces such as Collyweston with his 200-300 staff. They want to know where did they live, what did they eat and what was the impact on the wider economic area of the town.
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