King Henry’s Walk, N1

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King Henry VIII (June 28, 1491 – January 28, 1547), the infamous Tudor monarch who is just as well remembered for his passion for hunting as he is for his six marriages or politics. In Tudor times Hackney was a green and pleasant land. Wealthy Tudors flocked to its dense woodland, part of the Forest of Middlesex, to take delight in rural pursuits. Henry himself hunted wild bulls, stags, and boars in the grounds of a royal residence just south of Newington Green, dubious local legends go a step further in suggesting he installed his mistresses at a house there. Henry Percy, the Earl of Northumberland and the king’s predecessor in the affections of Anne Boleyn, lived just north of the green. In 1523 Percy, at the time page to Cardinal Wolsey, became engaged to Anne though he had not sought permission from either his father or the king so the marriage was refused. Henry married Anne himself in 1533 though within only three years of the marriage, with no son and heir, the relationship had soured. Percy found himself a member of the jury that convicted Anne of adultery and sentenced to death by beheading. The saga is remembered in the naming of a local group of Tudor-themed streets, including Boleyn Road, Wolsey Road, King Henry Street, Tudor Court, Mildmay Park and Queen Margaret’s Grove. This street appears to have been laid out in about the 1830s. Some of the area’s Tudor architecture, including S H Ridley’s Tudor Gothic style asylum, is much later, the asylum dating to 1836.

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