Amateur historian Tony Cherry pens very first reference book on Thornbury's iconic castle
AN AMATEUR historian and passionate researcher has delved into Thornbury's rich past to compile the very first reference volume on its treasured Tudor castle.
Tony Cherry, 69, a volunteer at the town museum has released The History of Thornbury Castle, a comprehensive record of the monument's turbulent 500-year history.
Having to turn away locals and tourists in search of information on the castle for nearly a decade, the former call centre manager decided to tackle the mound of archives and pictures amassed and data collated by museum staff over the years and write them into a single book.
"What triggered it for me was an American couple last June who were staying at the castle and came into the museum looking for information," he said.
"That was the catalyst. It did not take long to put together. It all relies on what a lot of people had already done in the past. It's the work of others as well over a longer period."
What resulted was a unique book covering the castle's often gruesome history of murder and bloodshed, and illustrated with stunning images borrowed from the British Museum, V&A and national Portrait Gallery.
Due to copyright restrictions, just 400 copies will be printed by Redcliffe Press.
"It was meant to satisfy the local need of people wanting to get information about the castle," added Mr Cherry. "It's the first written about its 500-year history and I think it's my most important book."
Built by Edward, third Duke of Buckingham, the castle was the last in England to be licensed by a king.
Prior to receiving permission to erect this new residence by Henry VIII in 1510, the Duke had lived in a timber framed manor house on the site.
Edward was beheaded by the monarch in 1521. The Tudor king retained Thornbury Castle for his own use. During his first of two visits to the town, Henry VIII was accompanied by his second wife Anne Boleyn, who was soon to lose her head.
The castle, which was only partially occupied from the late Tudor period until the Victorian era soon fell into disrepair. It underwent a restoration and major enhancement work under the ownership of Henry Howard in the 1850s.
Mr Cherry is no stranger to historical research. The former Gillingstool governor has previously published a history of the primary school, released a tome on Thornbury workhouse and co-compiled a book of old photographs of the town.
The hardback volume is available exclusively from Thornbury and District Museum for £15.
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