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About Rediscovering Rycote

Watch our mini-documentary to see the stories of Rycote back to life for the first time and gain an insight into how a Bodleian Libraries Archivist was able to piece them together from manuscripts, letters, maps and drawings in over fifty different archives.

Engraving of Rycote Park, early 18th century

Engraving of Rycote Park, early 18th century

About Rycote

Rycote Park, near Thame in Oxfordshire, was the site of a mansion originally built in Tudor times for Sir Richard Fowler, Giles Heron or John, Baron Williams of Thame - which one is not known. It was almost completely demolished in June 1807 and all that remains today is part of the south-west tower. The fourteenth-century Rycote Chapel, built for the medieval owners of the estate, has survived with many of its original medieval fittings.

The Tudor mansion at Rycote was arguably the dominant country house in early modern Oxfordshire and played host to six English kings and queens, including Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. The mansion archive was destroyed on a bonfire, but the Bodleian Library holds many manuscripts, letters, accounts, drawings and maps relating to Rycote.

This website offers:

  • A timeline of significant moments in Rycote’s history.
  • Maps and plans charting the evolving history of the estate and the Tudor mansion from the sixteenth century to the modern day.
  • An interactive eighteenth-century view of Rycote Park.
  • Stories exploring Rycote's medieval origins, the rise and fall of the great Tudor mansion, and its place in local and British history.
  • Biographies of six key figures in Rycote’s history.
  • Access to Bodleian manuscripts, archives, maps, plans, and other relevant sources relating to Rycote and its owners.
  • An interactive guide for learning Tudor and Stuart handwriting based on Bodleian manuscripts.
  • A mini-documentary giving insight by the project archivist into the work behind the website.

About Rediscovering Rycote