ARC Work Experience Placement – Grafton Regis Archive
Work Experience student Jake was part of a team looking through the Grafton Regis Hermitage Archive. Here Jake summaries why he found this archive so interesting and what was found:
It's 1464 for the last 9 years a Civil War had been raging on in England that started with a dynastic struggle for the throne of England between two sets of cousins, weirdly enough kinda of sounds like most family Christmas dinner's. A king had been deposed and a new one crowned. This young man was Edward IV, Europe's most eligible bachelor. He was expected to marry a French Princess but instead he chose an English widow. This English widow was Elizabeth Woodville the daughter of a minor Lord who had been fighting for the opposite side, the Lancastrian's. This marriage would change history and it all took place in the little town of Grafton Regis in Northamptonshire. The couple wedded on 1st May 1464 in the little Hermitage of Grafton.
The Hermitage had itself a long History dating back to the 12th Century apparently founded by a Hermit named Helia and had faced ups and downs through the centuries however rose to prominence with the Woodville's and saw a series of rebuilding between 1461 – 1483 when Edward 4th's death and Richard 3rd's usurpation of the throne plummeted the family's fortunes. The Hermitage soon fell into disrepair and then was all but totally destroyed in the dissolution of the monasteries under the reign of Edward's and Elizabeth's Grandson Henry VIII. For 400 years the site of the Hermitage laid undisturbed until 1964 when the archaeological dig began at Grafton Regis. There were many amazing discoveries, amongst them were the Grafton Regis tiles which commemorated Edward 4th's and Elizabeth's marriage. The tiles contained the Royal White Rose of York (photo 1- above) and the Woodville's coat of arms (photo 2- above).