Bradgate House is said to have been the birthplace of Lady Jane Grey, who reigned as the Queen of England for fewer than 10 days, when she was a mere teenager. The once-magnificent mansion is now nothing but ruins.
The Protestant King Edward VI declared Jane as his successor as a way of preventing the succession of Queen Mary I, a Catholic. Though members of the Privy Council persuaded Jane to take the crown, they soon changed their minds after Mary’s support rapidly increased. After just nine days, Jane’s supporters abandoned her and she was deposed, earning her the nickname the “Nine Day Queen.”
She and her husband, Lord Guildford Dudley, were tried and found guilty of high treason. At first they were spared execution. However, after her father took part in a rebellion against Mary, it was decided that Jane was a threat to the Crown and had to be killed.
She was beheaded, at the age of 16, within the walls of the Tower of London on February 12, 1554. She went to her death after watching the body of her husband being brought back to the Tower after his public beheading on the same day.
The Grey family began constructing the Bradgate House in 1499 and completed it in 1520. Though the family briefly lost the estate after falling out of favor with the Crown, they eventually reacquired the property. Still, it was abandoned in 1734 and was in ruins by 1790. The once-impressive building was one of the first large mansions constructed in England without defenses. It was also one of the first buildings in the country to be built with bricks. It was a magnificent structure, very similar to Hampton Court.