> Skip to content
About the book
  • Published: 4 April 2019
  • ISBN: 9781784160494
  • Imprint: Black Swan
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 496
  • RRP: $26.99

Houses of Power

The Places that Shaped the Tudor World

New accessible PB edition of this critically acclaimed study of Tudor life as a King or Queen, as told through houses such as the Tower of London, Whitehall, Westminster and Hampton Court. Definitive social history brought to life.

'Excellent . . . Fresh, learned, readable and full of life' Dan Jones, Mail on Sunday

Houses of Power is the result of Simon Thurley's thirty years of research, picking through architectural digs, and examining financial accounts, original plans and drawings to reconstruct the great Tudor houses and understand how these monarchs shaped their lives.

What was it like to live as a royal Tudor?
Why were their residences built as they were and what went on inside their walls?
Who slept where and with who?
Who chose the furnishings?
And what were their passions?

The Tudors ruled through the day, throughout the night, in the bath, in bed and in the saddle. Their palaces were genuine power houses - the nerve-centre of military operations, the boardroom for all executive decisions and the core of international politics.

Far more than simply an architectural history - a study of private life as well as politics, diplomacy and court - it gives an entirely new and remarkable insight into the Tudor world.

  • Pub date: 4 April 2019
  • ISBN: 9781784160494
  • Imprint: Black Swan
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 496
  • RRP: $26.99

About the Author

Simon Thurley

Dr Simon Thurley is a leading architectural historian, a regular broadcaster on television and radio, and was until 2015 the Chief Executive of English Heritage, the government’s principal advisor on the historic environment in England. Previous posts have included Curator of the Historic Royal Palaces and Director of the Museum of London.
Simon is the author of a number of books on architectural history, including The Royal Palaces of Tudor England; Whitehall Palace and Hampton Court. In 2013 he published a major history of English architecture, The Building of England. Simon is married to the historian Anna Keay and lives in Norfolk.

Praise for Houses of Power

“An absorbing account of the lives of these royal houses. It is a journey not just from palace to hunting lodge to castle, but into the small and poignant details of domestic existence.”

Times Literary Supplement

“This is a landmark book. Nobody interested in Tudor England can afford not to own a copy of this gateway into a lost world … compulsively readable.”

Sir Roy Strong, Country Life

“Unrivalled architectural expertise... Superb writing...A triumph: a masterly collective biography of [Tudor Royal] buildings, replete with insights into their owners’ private lives and into politics, diplomacy and court etiquette.”

Literary Review

“[Simon Thurley] certainly loves his subject. An enthusiasm that steadily bubbles forth from Houses of Power....Thurley’s reconstruction of these rooms is fascinating, but even more so is his description of what went on in them ... A suitably opulent book”

Gerard DeGrout, The Times

“Excellent... Fresh, learned, readable and full of life, [Houses of Power] is the Tudors At Home, as you've never seen them before.”

Dan Jones, Mail on Sunday

“Immensely informative.”

Christopher Howse, Daily Telegraph

“One of the most exciting new book releases of 2017: Our fascination with all things Tudors shows no sign of abating and Simon Thurley’s Houses of Power: The Places that Shaped the Tudor World promises to take readers right to the very heart of that world. From homes to palaces, sleeping arrangements to soft furnishings, it’s an illuminating look at the material world of the 16th century.”

BBC History Magazine

“One of the finest works of historical reconstruction I have ever encountered.”

Jonathan Wright, Catholic Herald

Related titles