Managed by Lincolnshire County Council, but owned by English Heritage, Gainsborough Old Hall is one of the best preserved medieval manor houses in England. The hall was built by Sir Thomas Burgh in 1460. The Burghs were a rich, flamboyant and powerful family.
In August 1541, King Henry VIII visited and stayed at the hall with his wife Katherine Howard. He arrived with a retinue of over 400 people and an army of over 3000. This was a huge logistical problem to arrange. We took our re-enactment back a few weeks earlier to show how the arrangements might have started.
At the time, the Hall was owned by Lord Thomas Burgh, but he tended to live with his wife Lady Alice, at their other house, leaving just a skeleton staff here. We showed Lady Alice meeting with the Royal Commissioner to discuss arrangements, while the staff attended to them and thought about the implications of a Royal visit from them as well.
During the Civil Wars, the house was owned by the Hickman family who had owned it since 1596. We did a small event with just a couple of key characters placed in a bedchamber, to talk about life during the wars.