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Exeter’s historic Guildhall hosts a Tudor Feast fit for a King

Published: 14 May 2024

Exeter’s historic Guildhall hosts a Tudor Feast fit for a King Henry on Tour project

People are being invited to take part in a lavish banquet in the Tudor splendour of Exeter’s historic Guildhall.

As part of Historic Royal Palace’s Henry on Tour project Exeter’s historic Guildhall is celebrating a lavish feast given in 1533, given in honour of King Henry VIII by his cousin Henry Courtenay, the Marquess of Exeter.

An invitation has now been issued to join the Lord Mayor of Exeter’s VIP guest list and dine in person with ‘Henry VIII’ on Saturday 15 June.

It was in July 1533 that the King visited the Courtenay’s manor of West Horsley, near Guildford, a month after his new wife Anne Boleyn’s coronation as Queen.

The couple later came on royal progress to the Westcountry in 1535 but sadly never got as far as Exeter.

But in the spirit of historical re-imagining the well-documented banquet will be transposed to the civic capital of the Courtenay’s ancient Devonshire seat.

Although he did not visit Exeter in person, Henry VIII recognised the city’s regional significance by confirming all previous charters and granting ‘county’ status in 1537, a highly desirable judicial and administrative autonomy that was retained until a countrywide reorganisation of local government in 1974.

The banquet will be meticulously themed, as each of the three courses is inspired by one of the sumptuous plates on the original Tudor menu that guests enjoyed on that occasion.

In true Henrician style, guests will be able to enjoy some venison, courtesy of the present Earl of Devon’s estate at Powderham Castle, and other dishes reflecting locally grown seasonal fruit and vegetables and products (such as Devon cheddar and clotted cream) especially associated with the county.

These were ingredients from the period both royal Henrys favoured and were regularly served at dinner.

The evening starts with a drinks reception in the Lord Mayor’s Parlour. There will be music and entertainment, a special three-course meal and drinks of choice. Tickets for this exclusive event are £80 per person.

This is an opportunity to indulge in a culinary journey fit for King Henry VIII himself, crafted especially to reflect the local seasonal produce highlighted by research into this historic event.

To book a ticket for an evening of exquisite dining and Tudor splendour at the historic Guildhall visit


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