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If you followed the launch of ‘In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII’ back in March, you will be aware of the story of the set of oak panels, adorning the interior of Old Warden Church, which folklore said belonged to ‘Anne of Cleves’ chapel in Bruges’. As part of my research on Anne of Cleves, I could not help but delve deeper into the enigma surrounding them.

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Anne of Cleves’ Panels of St Leonard’s Church, Old Warden

There was considerable media interest in our adventure in time, concluding as we did that all the physical, visual and circumstantial evidence placed the panels as being contemporaneous to Anne’s life. Renowned architectural historian, Jonathan Foyle, stated that the collection was a ‘nationally important historic collection’ and a ‘vanishingly rare’ example of a royal interior associated with a period in the 1550s known as counter-reformation classicism’. For more on the story, click here.

However, I can reveal here for the first time that this is not quite the whole story! A new piece of evidence has come to light in the last two weeks that allows us beyond any question to place them as sixteenth century royal relics. This last piece of the jigsaw will be made public on 3rd July, when the parish council of Old Warden church is holding a charity day to raise funds. It is a Tudor themed afternoon; Jonathan Foyle and I will be speaking about Anne of Cleves, her life, the places she called home, Tudor relics and, of course, the story of the panels. To entertain, there will be ladies in Tudor costume, music and hopefully some Tudor nibbles to taste. The full programme can be viewed by clicking the link below:

Programme Tudor Times

The event will be held on Sunday 3rd July from 2pm. Tickets for adults are £5; children are free. There is no need to book in advance, just turn up on the day. I hope to see some of you there in person. Please spread the word and come and be among the first to hear our announcement.

Adieu for now!

Sarah