London’s Biggest Park

This you may think is easy. It must be Hyde Park which stretches from Park Lane in the east, until it reaches Kensington Gardens. But it’s not. The winner is out to the south-west of London and is called Richmond Park. It covers an area of 2,740 acres and boasts herds of both Red and Fallow Deer. It can easily be visited, being a shortish walk from Richmond Station. However, there is more to this park than just grass, trees and deer. There is history here.

For hundreds of years, it has had a royal connection. It was designated Crown Land as early as the 14th Century when a manor house called Sheen Palace was located there. It was the place where Edward III died in 1377. After this, Richard II liked to stay there with his wife, Queen Anne of Bohemia. But, when she died in 1394, he had the building torn down. It was Henry VII who had it rebuilt and ir became known as Richmond Palace. This name originated when Henry was known by the title of Earl of Richmond. However, this was not the Richmond we are discussing here; it referred to a town in Yorkshire, in the north of England. It was known that on one occasion in 1492, Henry VII staged a jousting tournaments in the grounds of the palace.

Henry’s son became Henry VIII, he of many wives fame and who had a couple of them executed when he had had enough of them. In fact, it is said that he waited at a point in Richmond Park for a signal to tell him that his wife of the time, Anne Boleyn had been executed. The place where he is said to have stood is now known as Henry’s Mound.

The child of Henry and Anne Boleyn became Queen Elizabeth I and she passed away at the palace on the 24th March 1603. The palace was demolished during the English Civil War of the 1640s. Today, all that remains id the Gatehouse.

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