The stunning royal mansion in West London where Henry VIII ‘exploded’

The stunning royal mansion in West London where Henry VIII ‘exploded’

The Greenhouse at Syon Park is beautiful, but the House hides a rather grisly story A beautiful stately home in West London boasts stunning architecture, sprawling greenery and spectacular views – but also a gruesome history.

Syon House and Conservatory in Brentford, just over the Thames from Kew Gardens, is situated within 40 acres of glorious gardens and dates back to the Tudor period.

In fact, it has some rather grisly Tudor history: apparently, it was in Syon House that Henry VIII ‘exploded’ after his death.

When Henry VIII died, on January 28, 1547, his body lay in state in Whitehall for a few days before being taken to Windsor. On route to Windsor, the funeral procession stopped overnight at Syon House.

During this overnight stay, rumour has it that the king’s body ‘exploded’ due to a build-up of gases.

However, a more reasonable explanation is that Henry VIII’s coffin, for a reason unknown, began to leak blood and bodily fluids.

The workmen who came to reseal the coffin before it continued its journey apparently witnessed dogs licking up the blood that had dripped onto the floor.

Aside from this grim story, the estate is a fascinating place with beautiful gardens and decor.

Visitors can witness Syon House’s spectacular interiors designed by Robert Adam and admire the incredible art collection.

You can also enjoy the landscaped gardens designed by Capability Brown, and admire an outstanding rural landscape you’ll hardly believe is so close to the hustle and bustle of London.

The Great Conservatory is another highlight: its greenhouse architecture is so dazzling that it even featured as Heaven in the 1967 film Bedazzled.

Syon House is reopening to visitors from Wednesday, July 21: see its website for more details.

The easiest route to Syon House from central London is by taking a 30-minute South Western Railway train from Waterloo to Syon Park. The house is a 15 minute walk from the station.

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