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Anne of Cleves House

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Anne of Cleves House

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Date Posted:July 16th, 2007
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Description: Anne of Cleves House is a 16th century timber-framed Wealden hall-house in Southover High Street in Lewes, East Sussex, UK. It formed part of Anne of Cleves's divorce settlement from Henry VIII in 1541. It was restored by the architect Walter Godfrey.

It is owned and administered by the Sussex Archaeological Society.

Anne of Cleves (22 September 1515 – 16 July 1557) was the fourth wife of Henry VIII of England. The two were married on 6 January 1540 at the royal Palace of Placentia in Greenwich, London by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, despite Henry's very vocal misgivings. If his bride had objections, she kept them to herself. The phrase “God send me well to keep” was engraved around Anne’s wedding ring.

Anne was commanded to leave the court on June 24 and on July 6 she was informed of her husband's decision to reconsider the marriage. In a short time, Anne was asked for her consent to an annulment, to which she agreed. The marriage was annulled on July 9, 1540, on the grounds that it had never been consummated -- Henry claimed that he had found his bride so unattractive that he could not bear to sleep with her. She received a generous settlement, including Hever Castle, home of Henry's former in-laws, the Boleyns. Anne of Cleves House, in Lewes, Sussex, is just one of many properties she owned; she never lived there. Made a Princess of England and called "sister" by her former husband, Anne remained in England for the rest of her life.

There is evidence that during the reign of Henry's son, King Edward VI, Anne suffered some financial reverses due to Edward not paying her allowance. She gave up Richmond Castle and Hever and moved to a small country house at Dartford. Her lot improved with the accession of Henry's daughter Mary Tudor to the English throne, and for the short remainder of her life, Anne occupied an honoured place at court. She was the last of Henry's six wives to die, in London, on 16 July 1557, and was buried in Westminster Abbey after a royal funeral. By that time, she had converted to Roman Catholicism and remained on good terms with Queen Mary, her former stepdaughter.


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