Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Colin's Little Known Facts: Nine Day Queen From Leicestershire

Lady Jane Grey, the tragic young girl who was Queen of England for nine days, came from Bradgate House in Leicestershire.

Jane was born at Bradgate in 1537. She was the daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Suffolk, and her mother was the daughter of Mary Tudor, the sister of Henry VIII, who is buried at Bury St. Edmunds.

Towards the end of Edward VI’s reign, when it was obvious that he would not live much longer, Jane’s parents arranged for her to be married to Guildford Dudley, son of the Duke of Northumberland, to ensure a Protestant succession and to give the two sets of parents enormous power in the land.

When Edward died in 1553, Jane was proclaimed Queen. She was only 16 years old, and only interested in a quiet life spent in study and devotion.

The Catholic Mary, Henry VIII’s daughter by Catherine of Aragon, was clearly the rightful Queen. She raised an army and removed Jane forthwith.

Mary, universally known as Bloody Mary, has had a terrible press over the centuries, and, in view of her Protestant-burning activities, understandably so.

But she realised that Jane and her young husband were innocent pawns in a power game, and merely confined them to the Tower of London. Jane was her cousin, after all, and she knew it would be unjust to have her executed.

However, after Jane’s mother became involved in another plot to reinstate her daughter as Queen, Mary decided that enough was enough. Jane and Guildford were executed at the Tower in 1554.

Bradgate House is now a picturesque ruin. It stands in Bradgate Park on the edge of Charnwood Forest, with its herds of deer and peacocks. Thanks to the generosity of the shoe magnate Charles Bennion, the park now belongs to the people of Leicester.