In 1535 King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn set out on a royal progress across the country and on 21st August the couple arrived at Acton Court in the West Country for a stay.
Nicholas Poyntz, the owner of Acton Court wanted to impress his King and so commissioned building to commence on a new East Wing onto his moated manor house and even went on to decorate the state apartments to impress his King. This extensive building work took nine months to complete, which shows how far in advance the King’s progress and route were planned. Only one wing of Acton Court exists today and it just so happens to be the East Wing that was built specially for a King.
A royal progress normally took place in the summer months when London was too hot and normally the plague had broken out so the King and his court took a break from life in the capital and travelled around a part of the country. Travelling meant that the King could go out and meet his subjects and in 1535 this was even more important. With the Henry recently becoming Head of the Church of England and marrying his second wife, Anne Boleyn, it was important for Henry to show off his new wife and convince his subjects that the Reformation was the best thing for the country.
The royal progress of 1535 took 14 weeks and Dr Glen Richardson in ‘Henry VIII and travel’ wrote about the progress and the journey they took;
“Starting from Windsor, the royal party moved to Reading and from there through Oxfordshire to Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire. They visited another six locations in that county in late August and early September before travelling down through Wiltshire and Hampshire, stopping at Winchester en route. In October, after a stay in Portsmouth, Henry headed back towards London through Hampshire staying at Bishop’s Waltham, Old Arlesford and at The Vyne, the home of Lord Sandys, the sheriff of Hampshire, Constable of Southampton Castle and a long time favourite of the king.”
Despite the aim of the royal progress to promote the Reformation and allow the King’s subjects to see his new wife, the progress would be the only one that Anne Boleyn would attend as less than a year later she was executed.