In Pictures: Tudor castle Basing House ready for battle after £2.3 million rebuild campaign

By Culture24 Staff | 10 August 2010
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Reopening: Basing House, Basingstoke, August 14 2010

An overhead photo of a 17th century siege around a castle

The castle and palace as it looked under siege in the 17th century

The ruins of the English Tudor palace at Basing House have had a turbulent past. Built as a majestic castle for William Paulet, King Edward VI’s treasurer in 1531, they came under siege during the English Civil War of the 1640s, surviving a barrage of onslaughts before eventually being breached by Oliver Cromwell in 1645.

A photo of a man taking measuremeants inside a brick building

The masterplan begins in 2006

More than 300 years later, in the 1980s, the County Council bought the property with the aim of turning it into a heritage attraction, and the most dramatic development in the site’s story started three years ago, when planners finally secured £2.3 million to bring their plans to life.

A photo of surveyors inside a brick barn

Contractors move onto the site in September 2009

Contractors finally got their diggers into the ancient barns in September 2009, aided by a dedicated clearing team from the Basingstoke Archaeological Society and a determined programme of community digs.

A photo of the shadow of a builder inside a tent inside a wood

Builders use tents to work on the walls of the House

The result is a picturesque country history centre with a museum, sound and light shows recreating the stories of all those brutal assaults and a visitor centre with learning facilities.

A photo of a man searching a river

Local enthusiasts survey the surrounding countryside

“The investment into Basing House has been fantastic,” says Councillor Margaret Snaith-Tempia, looking ahead to a Bank Holiday weekend featuring 1,000 Roundheads and Cavaliers camping on Basingstoke Common before locking helmets in one of the most ambitious Civil War re-enactments of the year.

A photo of an ancient artefact

Excavations revealed numerous artefacts around the site

“It has meant that a site overflowing with history has been preserved and upgraded to make it a wonderful place to visit, not only for local residents but school children and tourists from around the UK.”

A photo of a green garden maze

The garden of the House

Reopens on Saturday (August 14 2010). The Battle of Basing weekend takes place August 28-30, visit the House online for tickets and more details.

Visit the project blog for more on the building work.

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