Digital technology brings past to life at Oxburgh Hall

Work has begun to digitally re-create the tapestries at Oxburgh Hall, that would have hung in the Ki

Work has begun to digitally re-create the tapestries at Oxburgh Hall, that would have hung in the King's Room. Picture: Ian Burt

It was once the finest room in a magnificent stately home, an exhibit of a families history and their suffering.

Now a project is underway to restore the King's Room at Oxburgh Hall to its former state - using the latest digital technology.

The 15th century castle-like house is the ancestral home of the Bedingfeld family, who still live there to this day.

In recent times a search has been taking place to track down some of the original heirloom tapestries which once adorned its stone walls.

Now a replica, digitally copied down to every last stitch, has become the first of six to be hung in the room, which it was once claimed a king slept in. Replication specialists Zardi & Zardi, who were responsible for the tapestry reproductions in the BBC historical drama Wolf Hall, have carried out the work.

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Edward Bartlett, house manager at Oxburgh Hall, said: 'The family first built this place when they were in their ascendancy, they were rich, influential, they held royal offices and built this castle.

'But when Henry VIII broke up the church they refused to give up their Catholic beliefs and were persecuted. They were fined and had huge taxes, they weren't allowed to send their children to public schools. In the early 19th century a law came in to say you could follow your beliefs. Henry Bedingfeld, the 6th Baronet, was completely obsessed with his family's medieval history and he transformed the room to show how the family fell out of favour. It was to show visitors 'this it what we once were, we had kings and queens stay with us'.'

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The room is next to the priest hole, where Jesuit priests escaping persecution could be hidden, to highlight the comparison between the two eras of the family's past. It is unlikely the room was ever actually slept in by Henry VII and his wife Elizabeth of York, who are believed to have stayed in another part of the house.

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