TV star walks through the Priory’s history

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TV presenter Tony Robinson’s Walking Through History series brings him to Lewes tomorrow (Saturday) evening when he visits the Priory.

In episode three of the programme, which sees the star of Time Team and Blackadder walk across different areas of England and talk about their place in history, he takes on a 45 mile trek.

Starting in the Weald in Kent, he walks across the East Sussex Downs in search of our Tudor heritage.

He stops at Penshurst Place, Hever Castle, the Ashdown Forest and finishes in Lewes.

He spent two and ahalf hours being filmed at the Priorty with trustee Arthur Franklin, uncovering the dissolution of the monasteries.

“The programme is about Henry VIII and his connections to the area,” said Mr Franklin.

Ashdown Forest was his hunting ground and Hever Castle was the childhood home of his wife Anne Boleyn.

At the Priory he was interested in Thomas Cromwell, chief minister to Henry VIII.

“He was responsible for the King’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon so that he could marry Anne Boleyn and the dissolution of the monasteries,” said Mr Franklin.

“Tony looked at how the Priory was brought down and demolished.

“We have letters from Henry VIII’s engineer responsible for destroying the monastic buildings who came down from London.

“Tony asked if Cromwell gained anything from the dissolution of the monasteries.

“He acquired the Abbott’s buildings which he had as the family home for his son and daughter-in-law.

“When Cromwell fell from power his property became part of the divorce settlement.”

Mr Franklin said the producers originally asked him to answer a series of questions when organising the filming.

He was interested to see how the hours of filming were condensed.

“Tony Robinson was charming, very experienced and very easy to work with,” he said.

“I thought there would be a cameraman and him but there was a whole team of people.

“It’s important for Lewes and raises the profile of the town and the Priory. Many people don’t know it’s here.”

Walking Through History is at 8.30pm on Channel 4.

Previous episodes saw Tony discover the Birth of Industry in the Peak District and Frontline Dorset, looking at the war in 1940.