Houses and History is a non-fiction book for children published by B.T. Batsford Ltd. in 1960, as part of the Batsford Living History Series, with illustrations by William Stobbs. The series commissioned accessible non-fiction history books from well-regarded writers of children's historical fiction. Sutcliff contributed a second volume, Heroes and History, in 1965.
Houses and History consists of fourteen sketches of English great houses and the romantic incidents and famous figures of their history, including the homes of two subjects of Sutcliff's novels, Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Thomas Fairfax. The book is dedicated to "my Aunt Gladys, who also loves old houses."
Hampton Court Edit
Built by Cardinal Wolsey and largely pulled down by William III, Hampton Court has seen such a rich and varied history that "it is hopeless to do more than single out one figure from the rest": Anne Boleyn. After Wolsey gives the house to Henry VIII, he begins an extensive programme of embellishment and occupies it in 1530 with his unfortunate wife Catherine of Aragon and their daughter Mary, while already seeking the means to remarry the pretty, high-spirited Anne Boleyn. After three years of courtship, Anne becomes pregnant, necessitating a hasty marriage sanctioned by the Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, and Elizabeth is born in 1533. No son follows her, and Henry's affections have begun to stray to the docile Jane Seymour by the time of Anne's second pregnancy. She miscarries of a boy and blames Henry for his cruel treatment of her, enraging him. He has her arrested on the trumped-up charge of adultery with six men including the poet Sir Thomas Wyatt, musician Mark Smeaton, and her brother George Boleyn. With the exception of Wyatt, all are executed, and Henry remarries Jane Seymour the day after Anne's death.
Bishop's Hatfield, built as the palace of the Bishop of Ely, was the site of Mary Rose Tudor's delivery of her daughter Frances Brandon, the future mother of Lady Jane Grey. Mary Rose, the favourite sister of Henry VIII, finally acquiesced in her brother's plan to marry her to the elderly King Louis XII of France. She wore him out with gaiety in three months and returned to England to marry her beloved Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.