Thornbury Castle Hotel
Silverline have been looking after travellers to this hotel for over 20 years.
Taxi, Private HIre and Chauffeur Airport Transfer Service
Silverline Cars have a long history of transporting guests to Thornbury Castle from all UK airports, although usually Heathrow Airport, Gatwick Airport or Bristol Airport.
Silverline Cars association with Thornbury Castle goes back as far as 2002.
A Brief History
Thornbury Castle was built by Edward Stafford, third Duke of Buckingham, between 1510 and 1521. Edward had been orphaned at the age of 7 when Richard III had beheaded his father, the second Duke; his ward ship had been given to Margaret Beaufort, Henry VII’s mother, following his succession to the throne when Henry defeated Richard III, and Margaret Beaufort brought him to live in the manor house which occupied the site at that time. The Duke must have liked Thornbury, for although owning many, many manor houses and castles all around the England and Wales, he chose to make Thornbury his administrative centre, and to build “a palace within a castle” here. Licence was granted by Henry VIII in 1509, and building began the following year. The Castle as we know it was habitable and in use within 18 months, though it was never finished. If you look, you may see small square holes in the walls, which were where the scaffolding was fixed, showing that work was still continuing up to 1521.
There are several reasons for the Duke’s arrest and subsequent execution. Edward Stafford was a Plantagenet, descended from the line of Edward III, and in truth had more right to the throne than Henry VIII. The Duke was also extremely rich. He had a yearly income of over £5,000 – almost £2 million a year now. It was well known that he repeatedly stated that should Henry die without a legitimate son, he would be able to take the throne. With a King as paranoid as Henry, who was also profligate and spending vast sums of money, this was not the thing to do. In April 1521 Edward Stafford was arrested, charged with treason, attainted, which meant that everything he possessed reverted to the Crown, and beheaded on 17th May 1521.
The Duke had been a real family man, very close to his siblings, especially his sisters, and to his children, most of whom lived here at Thornbury with him. He was an educated man. His account books, now in the National Archive, show his initials at the foot of each page, and crossings out of figures where he has found discrepancies, with the correct amounts filled in, in his own hand. When he was beheaded, the family left Thornbury, and it was staffed by Crown retainers. Mary 1st stayed here often while in her teens, being taught by the Bishop of Exeter, and Henry and Anne Boleyn came here in 1535 while on their “Progress” through the West Country, and stayed for ten days, enjoying the six square miles of hunting land then attached to the Castle.
After this time the Castle was staffed at a minimal level, and certainly no money was available for building or maintenance, and it gradually fell into disrepair. Even when it was returned to the Stafford family by Mary Tudor, they did not want to live in it, and it became a picturesque ruin. By the 1830’s Thornbury Castle was owned by the Howard family – the family of the Dukes of Norfolk, and the south wing was renovated and became a home for a branch of that family. It was sold to Kenneth Bell, a restaurateur in 1966, and then to the Baron Taylor of Portlethen, and the other wings of the Castle were renovated into the beautiful hotel which it now is.
We are fortunate to have a wealth of interesting and sometimes unique architectural features – the fireplace in the lounge is that graced Edward Stafford’s great hall, and is still connected to the superb chimneys visible from outside – the finest example of Tudor chimneys in the world, earlier than those at Hampton Court, more ornate and still working! The Tudor Gardens are the earliest extant in England, though small compared to Longleat, for example. This is due to the fact that they had to be contained within the Castle walls for defence purposes. They look very much the way they would have done when Henry VIII came here with his Queen Anne. From the gardens you will see on the first floor, a beautiful, curved five bay window. This is unique. When it was originally glazed, it had over 700 small diamond shaped curved panes of glass – a difficult and extremely expensive item to achieve.
Airport Transfer Service to Thornbury Castle
For transfers between airports and hotels we will quote per journey based on vehicle type and distance
Our sightseeing tours are charged by the hour, from leaving base until returning to base.
Our drivers are not qualified tour guides, we are all local peolpe with a deep interest in the area that we live, and love to pass on our knowledge