Tickets available for Hilary Mantel lecture at Hinchingbrooke School

Photograph shows left to right: Tamsin Page (English teacher) Hilary Mantel, Lottie May (senior stud

Photograph shows left to right: Tamsin Page (English teacher) Hilary Mantel, Lottie May (senior student) Tom Wheeley (history teacher). - Credit: Archant

Huntingdon has its place in a historical drama which now, more than ever, has captured the imagination of the world.

The author Hilary Mantel, whose books Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, tracing the chaos caused by the tormented love affair between King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn both won Booker Prizes - and became a breathtakingly acclaimed BBC drama – came to look round Hinchingbrooke House as part of her research.

The author came to the former stately home, now Hinchingbrooke School, at the invitation of school librarian Tamsin Page, who had heard her speak at Ely Cathedral.

She used the visit as part of her preparations for the third book in the series, also likely to become a drama. Next month she will give a lecture in the house’s Inner Hall as part of the school’s 450th anniversary celebrations.

Ms Mantel agreed to be a guest lecturer for the occasion when invited by history teacher, Tom Wheeley, who spoke to her during her visit.

The story in the first two books is told through the eyes and ears of Henry’s Chancellor, Thomas Cromwell. The Cromwell family acquired Hinchingbrooke House after the dissolution of the monasteries in 1538.

It was given as a home to Thomas’s nephew Richard Williams, also a prominent character in the book, who, as a boy was adopted by Thomas Cromwell and took his name.

Most Read

The third book, The Mirror and the Light, is also expected to be televised after the runaway success of the play at the National Theatre and the television series starring Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell, Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn and Damian Lewis as Henry VIII.

For authenticity, the drama, which is very faithful to the book, was filmed only by daylight and candlelight, enabled by a camera developed specially for the purpose. No artificial light was used.

Ms Mantel will speak exactly on the date of the school’s founding, on Saturday, May 2 as part of the anniversary weekend celebrations.

The 120 tickets for her lecture in the main hall are now sold out but because of popular demand, the talk will be shown on a screen in the house’s ancient library and another 120 tickets have been made available for that.

The weekend will also include an open day at the house and school on Sunday, May 3. Artwork by students will be on display and there will be musical performances by pupils.

INFORMATION: Tickets for Hilary Mantel’s lecture at 7pm on May 2 are £7 from 01480 375678. The open day on May 3 is from 11am to 5pm, free entry.