Chapels – Tudor Tuesday

March 08 2022 | Castle

Oratory Chapel - Waldegrave room

The theme for this week’s #TudorTuesdays with Historic Houses is Chapels.

On this Tudor Tuesday, we take a look at the small chapel for private worship in the Waldegrave Room of Hever Castle.

The Catholic Waldegrave family owned Hever Castle from 1557 until 1715. In 1584 the Oratory was added to this room, hidden behind panelling so Sir Edward could practice his faith in secret. Henry Waldegrave, married an illegitimate daughter of James II. When James fled to France in 1688, Henry followed him in support of the Jacobite Cause.

Once within the Waldegrave Room the eye is drawn to the superb French Oak and walnut four-poster bed c.1485. However, you can also find a small chapel, or oratory, which was built after Queen Mary’s death in 1558. Hidden behind panelling, this chamber was built so that Sir Edward could practice his faith in secret, following Elizabeth I ascension to the throne.

Within the Oratory Chapel a 19th century painting of The Virgin in Ecstasy is featured, along with an Italian rock crystal cross c.1700 which sits atop an exquisitely carved Spanish altar.

James Waldegrave was the last of his family to own Hever Castle. He had seen his father struggle following the country’s refusal to accept a Catholic King. To stay in favour he renounced his Catholic faith, took the Oath of Supremacy, conformed to the Church of England and took his seat in the House of Lords.

It proved to be an advantageous move as he was appointed Ambassador to France in 1725 and, in 1729, was elevated to the Earldom of Waldegrave. The Castle at Hever proved to be too small for his growing status and the Castle was sold to Sir William Humphreys in 1715, a former Mayor of London. This ended the Waldegrave’s ownership of Hever Castle after 158 years, which is still the longest period of ownership in the Castle’s history.

Stained glass window - Oratory Chapel, Waldegrave Room

If you enjoyed this item on Chapels then why not discover the previous #TudorTuesdays news items:

You can also discover more about the other rooms of Hever Castle here.