She wasn’t just the power behind the throne, she was the force that helped create the throne and now one of the grand houses she called home is in the sight of modern historians. Archaeologists have begun a hunt for the Northamptonshire residence of Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII and the woman who helped establish the Tudor dynasty.
Lady Margaret, whose determination to put her son on the throne of England helped shape the first Tudor into a modern monarch, lived for a time at Collyweston in Northamptonshire. Her home there is known to have been dismantled in the 17th century and now modern experts have started a hunt for what is left of it.
Geophysical surveys will be carried out in parts of Collyweston to help archaeologists pinpoint potential sites for excavation. The village, which is near to Stamford, is small with a population of just over 500 and areas under investigation include several private gardens. Experts hope that they will gather enough information to begin a dig for ruins this summer.
Their search may turn out to be extensive. It’s thought that Lady Margaret Beaufort’s home in the area was an impressive building, possibly as large at one time as Hampton Court Palace. Once Henry VII was king, she became one of the most powerful people in the country, holding a huge influence over her son and his family. Her high status may well have been reflected in the palace currently under investigation.
Experts hope to present their findings in September this year and their discoveries may help to shed further light on the life of Margaret Beaufort who was born a wealthy heiress but who quickly showed she wasn’t willing to be just a pawn in the aristocratic marriage game. At the age of 12 she was married to Edmund Tudor, the half brother of King Henry VI. His death in 1456 left her a widow at 13 and just weeks later she gave birth to their son, Henry, who would be her only child.
She helped mastermind his rise to power and her fourth husband, Thomas Stanley, was influential in ensuring Henry won the Battle of Bosworth and, with it, the crown of England. Margaret went on to wield considerable power while her religious devotion and passion for education were legendary. She outlived Henry VII by two months and died five days after his son was crowned King Henry VIII, securing her legacy.