Welcome to March and 31 days of Time Team. Time Team is searching for Henry VIII in this episode.
This Time the Time Team is exploring Henry VIII’s lost jousting grounds. Henry VIII had inherited Greenwich Palace from his father and he made it a place for jousting. The jousting grounds and the buildings around them have disappeared. Time Team has three days to find them. Nobody had excavated these sites and nobody knows what they looked like. Will the Time Team succeed in their quest?
Henry VIII looms large over history. He was a man who loved tournaments, jousting, and spending money. Unfortunately, this dig will prove to be a challenge. Geophysics did not work on the site. There were no Tudor-Era maps of the site. Mick Astin points out that it is back to basics: they will have to dig a trench. The site manager warns that the Tudor layer could be as much as six feet down. The Time Team wastes no time in putting in the trench.
There are less than a handful of images of Greenwich Palace, the Tiltyard, and the Armory. Stuart Ainsworth looks over the remaining images to determine what they should be looking for. Tony is skeptical that they will find something remaining from the Tudor period. The Time Team keeps digging in the armory site.
In the meantime, another team digs their first trench. This area was the location of the tilting yard. This was where the knights prepared for jousting. Tony again is skeptical about finding evidence of the tiltyard. However, an expert in Tudor Jousting creates an image of what a Tudor tilting yard looks like. It was an elaborate set of the building where the knights would change into their armor, where people would fight, and where people would party. There was a series of great halls linked together by galleries. The team is finding evidence of rubble.
Henry VIII was born in Greenwich and held a fondness for the palace. When he was a young king, he was a sportsman and was proud to show off his skills. He used Greenwich Palace to try to win over the French. He wanted to secure an alliance.
After three hours of digging at the armory site, Phil may have found something. He calls Mick over. It may have been a set of loos. The armory will prove to be elusive. The tiltyard may be easier to find. The geophysics look at the site and have some good results. There may have been a tower on the site. However, it may be an air-raid shelter. The only way to find out is to dig a third trench.
Stuart continues to work to discover where the armory is. Slowly new documents are being discovered about the site. He goes over what he finds with Mick. They will look more towards the river to discover the armory. The tiltyard trenches are turning up Tudor evidence. Buckles, glass, and pieces of pottery are being found. There is also no air raid shelter in the third trench. There is evidence of walls. Is this evidence of a Tudor Structure? The Time Team will have to continue their investigation.
Tony gets fitted for Tudor Armor. An armor-making expert measures Tony up and discusses how armor was an investment for the Tudor knight. Tony is measured up and the armor maker gets to work. To continue to learn more about the Tudors, watch this episode.
This episode is cool because it shows Henry VIII as the sportsman and shatters the story of the fat overweight king. Henry VIII was a sporting king. This would be a good episode for both history and independent study students to watch.
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