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The Anne of Cleves House and MuseumAnne of Cleves' House lies close to the Lewes Priory Remains. This 16th century timber-framed Wealden hall-house is built upon a medieval barrel-vaulted cellar. The house once belonged to Anne of Cleves although there is no evidence that she actually lived here.
Anne of Cleves was the fourth wife of Henry VIII. Her recommendation to the King came from his chancellor, Thomas Cromwell who believed the union would bring an alliance with the German Protestant Prince and unite the two against France and the Holy Empire. Although Henry VIII agreed to the match, he said to Cromwell on his wedding day, 'My Lord, if it were not to satisfy the world, and My Realm, I would not do that I must do this day for none earthly thing.'. Henry's problem with his new wife was her unattractiveness and he would go on to irreverently refer to the new queen as a 'Flanders mare'. To be fair to Anne and her pox scars, King Henry VIII was by this time obese himself. The marriage was annulled shortly after on grounds that it had never been consummated. Anne of Cleves was given the house at Lewes as part of the settlement. Thomas Cromwell was not quite as lucky. To mark the success of the annulment he was accused of treason and beheaded.
Originally property of the Lewes Priory, the house passed into various hands over the centuries. Inhabited mostly by tenants it was divided into three sections. In 1923 it finally became a property cared for by the Sussex Archaeological Society. On your visit, you'll be able to see a Medieval kitchen, a Tudor style garden, beautiful stone carvings excavated from the Lewes Priory, Wealden ironwork, Lambert watercolours, Sussex pottery, Harmer terracottas and some magnificent early 18th century tapestries. You'll also be able to find out more about the history of Lewes and important events that took place here in the Lewes Room.
Address: Anne of Cleves House, 52 Southover High Street
Postcode: BN7 1JA
Town/city or near: Lewes
County: East Sussex
Daily from 1st March to 31st October. Tues – Sat from 10am to 5pm. Sunday, Monday and Bank Holidays from 11am to 5pm. The rest of the year Anne of Cleves House is open from Tuesday to Saturday between 10am-5pm. Closed from 24th to the 27th of December.