Anne of Cleves House

Anne of Cleves House, Lewes © 2011 Mufidah Kassalias

Anne of Cleves was the fourth wife of King Henry VIII, who neither died nor was beheaded whilst married to the English king whose rejection of Catholicism (based on his desire to annul his first marriage to Catherine of Aragon) led to the split between the Catholic Church and the Church of England in 1534.

Anne’s marriage to Henry was never consummated and, as a result, their marriage became the second that Henry had annulled. Anne of Cleves House in Lewes was part of her divorce settlement, although she apparently never lived in the house. Today, restored and under the care of the archaeological society, Sussex Past, it’s a small museum popular with schoolteachers who regularly take parties of seven- and eight-year-olds to visit.

Although there are a number of Tudor houses and buildings in Lewes, Anne of Cleves House is an example of a particular kind called a Wealden hall house. What I really like about this building is the sheer variety of materials  — wood, flint, sandstone, terracotta, red brick, lead, glass, slate, marble — and the resulting colours and textures. On the morning I took this photograph I also shot a number of close-up details, which I might gather together for a separate post.

19 responses

  1. looks like a very photogenic house with lots of possibilities as you mentioned, especially with textures and colors. I especially like the chequered stones (slate/marble ?) near the gate. I am pretty sure you will have some interesting details when you examine the closeups that you took.

    • Yes, the detail is amazing. Not sure what the chequered stones are made of, but I do know marble surrounds the main door. Maybe I need to go back and ask the hopefully knowledgeable person working there!

  2. That’s an amzingly beautiful house. I’d like to look inside. :)

    My favourite part of the facade is the brick part on the top right with the oval things, hard to tell what they are made of. It’s rather charming no one is scraping the moss off the shingles regularly.

    • Yes, it’s interesting to see inside as the rooms are preserved as they would have been in 1534. The part of the facade that you mention is made with red terracotta roof riles. And well spotted that there’s moss on the roof!

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