Anne of Cleves was granted this 15th-century house bearing her name in Lewes when her marriage to Henry VIII was annulled in 1541. She never lived there but collected the rent until her death. Anne of Cleves House was altered over the centuries but still displays original timbers and local materials.
Notice the beams in the east room and entrance hall, also graced by coats of arms and Sussex pottery pigs, then head for the upper bedroom, furnished in period style, and the tapestry room hung with four examples of early 18th-century chinoiserie. The old kitchen has timbers and brick floor, bread oven, kitchenware and a marble table (originally from Malling House in Kent) which according to legend, threw to the ground the swords laid down by knights on their way to murder Thomas Becket.
Along the corridor are stone carvings from the Priory ruins and in the Wealden Iron Gallery, a collection of firebacks. Stairs with a 16th‑century railing system lead up to the long gallery featuring Victorian artefacts and original windows, mullions and roof. The Lewes room shows old photographs and farming and brewing implements.
Little is seen of Anne of Cleves but that doesn’t diminish the allure of this rambling dwelling, described by Walter Godfrey as bearing “the genuine stamp of that delightful type of late medieval house”.
Don’t miss: the stained glass panel in the Lewes room depicting William IV and Queen Adelaide’s visit in 1830.