Sudeley Castle in Winchcombe, once home to the last and only surviving wife of Henry VIII, Queen Katherine Parr, could well be opening its doors again to the public. The Dent-Brocklehurst family are planning to move out of their family home in a bid to rejuvenate the castles fortunes after hitting upon hard times.Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst and her family have applied to Tewkesbury Borough council for permission to convert the 18th and 19th century Hill Barn and attached cow sheds on the estate into residential accommodation. According to this application, one of the reasons Mollie wants to move out is to help the running of the castle as a tourist attraction.
At present visitors can explore the castles grounds and on specific days tours of the castles apartments are offered. If these planning applications go ahead however, it could mean that visitors will be welcome into many more of the castle's unique rooms in an attempt to increase visitor interest.
Considered one of Englands finest castles, Sudeley Castle is now owned by Lady Ashcombe and her two children Henry and Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst, after they inherited it when Mark Dent-Brocklehurst, the childrens father, died aged 40 in 1972.Financial problems have arisen since Lady Ashcombe decided to close the state rooms and private quarters to tourists, a decision which resulted in visitor numbers dropping from 150,000 in 2004 to 50,000 in 2006.Back in 2007, a BBC4 fly-on-the-wall documentary revealed that despite the income received from weddings, corporate events and tourists visiting the castles grounds, the castle is loosing 100,000 a year. Since then, a Turner painting valued at 7 million was put up for auction to pay for the castles development.Speaking about these recent events, a spokeswoman for Sudeley Castle commented Owing to the increasing success of weddings and corporate hospitality which has shot up this year, we are looking at increasing the options and possibly making some space in the castle for such events.