Sussex home of Henry VIII's fourth wife Anne of Cleves reopens to the public

  • ITV News Meridian's Malcolm Shaw went for a tour around the house

The Sussex home of Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII's fourth wife, has reopened to the public once again after being closed during the pandemic.

The late medieval building, Anne of Cleves House in Lewes, is more than 500 years old. 

The house was given to her when her brief marriage to Henry VIII was annulled.

Following the annulment, she was also given a generous allowance as well as other properties, including Hever Castle in Kent and Richmond Palace in London.

Anne of Cleves House needs constant upkeep. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Anne, who was 24 and from Germany, was half the age of her husband.

Emma O'Connor, Museums Officer, Sussex Past said: "His reputation probably preceded him and it was undoubtedly, any sensible person would say, a pre-nuptial arrangement, 'Oh I'm going to keep my head, thank you and this is what we'll be looking at if things don't work out'.

"So I think it was undoubtedly a very good bit of international negotiation and quite thorough in the background."

The historic building requires constant attention.

The house has been decorated as it would have been when Anne of Cleves owned it. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Sean Arnold, Property Manager, Sussex Past said: "It needs people inside it basically. There were lots of maintenance routines to keep up with.

"Sometimes it was just me, other colleagues, and then over the last few months, we've been working on re-hanging the exhibitions, cleaning the place, brightening it up, making it look as good as it can be."

The interiors have been furnished to reflect how they would have looked during Anne's ownership.

Anne of Cleves never lived in the house herself, she rented it out instead. 

Despite their divorce, she remained friends with Henry, and outlived all the king's other wives.