Intriguing lecture to delve into discovery of royal bed and link to Saddleworth’s George Shaw

AN INTRIGUING lecture about the discovery of a royal bed and its connection with Saddleworth will be given on Saturday, June 13 as part of the Saddleworth Festival of the Arts.

Foyle Lecture Image ed
HISTORIC: The royal bed

‘George Shaw of Saddleworth: the Man who Unwittingly Discovered a Royal Treasure’ will be given by BBC presenter and academic Dr Jonathan Foyle at Saddleworth Museum.

He will talk about the remarkable story of the recent discovery of the marriage bed of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York and how part of it came to be in Saddleworth.

Dr Foyle, who has been decoding the symbolism of the bed’s intricate carvings since 2013 said: “Its importance is immense.

“It is the only surviving medieval royal bed and the sole manifestation of the new Tudor dynasty. This is the historical find of a generation.

“Yet lurking at the heart of the story is George Shaw of Saddleworth. And the role he played was one of criminal deception.”

George Shaw lived at St. Chad’s House, Uppermill (now the library), and was a notable Gothic revival architect of the nineteenth century, designing numerous churches such as Christ Church, Friezland.

Shaw purchased the bed in 1842, unaware of its royal origins, and used it as the basis for numerous copies and forgeries.

Before finally disposing of the bed, he removed a panel containing the royal crest, placing it above an internal door at St. Chad’s and the Tudor relic can still be seen in Uppermill Library today.

The rest of the bed is currently on display at Hever Castle, Kent.

The talk will be held at 2pm on Saturday, June 13 at Saddleworth Museum, hosted by Saddleworth Historical Society as part of the Saddleworth Festival of the Arts.

Tickets are £10 (£5 to Society members) and available from Saddleworth Museum or Ivan Foster:


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