The Ruins of Bradgate House

Opening Times

Free guided tours of the Bradgate House Ruins run daily.

Departing from the Visitor Centre at 11.30 and 2.00pm (weather permitting).

Additional tours will be in operation during School holidays.
Ring the visitor centre for further information 0116 236 2713 ext.25

Peacock-in-the-ruins

The-ruins-and-Old-JohnSituated in the centre of Bradgate Park, adjacent to the tarmac carriageway and midway between the Newtown Linford entrance and the Deer Barn Buildings.

A magnificent Tudor house, reminiscent of Hampton Court and other great houses of the period. Bradgate House was one of the earliest unfortified mansions to be built in England and one of the first houses of its scale to be built in brick. It was started by Thomas Grey, 1st Marquis of Dorset, in about 1499 and his son completed it by 1520.  Further additions were made some 20 years later and also in the 1600’s.

The completed house consisted of two main storeys with attics and was about 200 feet in length from east to west with two wings joined by a Great Hall and parlour on the north side.

The west wing was occupied by the great kitchen, bakery and servants’ quarters.  The east wing contained the Chapel and the family apartments.

The house suffered damage when the first wife of the 2nd Earl of Stamford allegedly started a fire in 1694 but it was repaired in time for the visit, in 1696, of King William III.

Bradgate House ceased to be lived in after the Fourth Earl inherited the title and moved with his family to Enville Hall in Staffordshire in 1739. By 1790 it was in ruins and slowly falling into decay. The Ruins are now preserved by the Bradgate Park Trust.

Today the outline of this once magnificent house can still clearly be seen. The dwarf remains of walls, ruined towers, cellars, drainage channels, kitchen fireplace, bread ovens and much more. The only building that retains a roof is the Chapel. However, it has been much altered over the years. It does, however, contain a fine alabaster tomb, a memorial to Sir Henry Grey, (who was created Baron Grey of Groby by James I in 1603) and his wife, Anne Windsor. Sir Henry Grey was cousin of Lady Jane Grey and grandfather to another Henry Grey who was created First Earl of Stamford in 1628. Significant conservation work was carried out in the Chapel in 2015 and a new exhibition on the history of the house and family installed.

Early music 27.6.15

Performance of 16th century music in the Chapel as part of a Living History weekend

To the east of the house is the site of what has traditionally been known as the Tilt Yard (supposedly used for Jousting). Recent geophysical investigations suggest that this area has been a garden since the house was built as evidence for an earlier garden design has been discovered beneath the visible remains of the Tudor formal garden. Now grassed over, the  garden area is used in summer as a setting for outdoor performances.

The Bradgate Park Trust is working with De Montfort University in Leicester to research the history and architecture of the house. As a result of this work, a 3-dimensional digital reconstruction of how the building would have looked in its heyday has been produced. A 3-D printed model has been produced from this reconstruction and is on display in the Visitor Centre.

Remaining Towers of Bradgate HouseRemains-of-the-once-magnificent-House tomb 10.6.15

A wide range of publications giving more information on Bradgate Park, its history, the Grey Family and general visitor information are on sale at the Visitor Centre and Country Park Shop.

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