Key Historical Figures
As the site of the grand royal estate of Theobalds, the grounds that are now Cedars Park have accommodated several greatly significant people over the years.
Sir William Cecil
William Cecil was Queen Elizabeth I's Chief Advisor for most of her reign. He bought Theobalds in 1563 and accommodated the Queen on many occasions throughout the late 16th century.
On one of the Queen's visits in 1571, Cecil gifted her a drawing of the house. He was elevated to the Peerage the same year, becoming the Lord High Treasurer (Lord Burleigh), one of just 15 noblemen during the Elizabethan period. When Elizabeth visited the Palace in 1593, Cecil spent some 2500 pounds entertaining her.
Queen Elizabeth I
Sir Robert Cecil
Following the death of his father William in 1598, Robert Cecil inherited Theobalds. King James I arrived at the Palace for the first time on 3 May 1603 and Cecil looked after him and his associates.
Cecil accommodated James I (of England) & Christian IV of Denmark for 5 days in 1606. The organised entertainments did not go to plan as most of the participants had been drinking heavily prior to the performance. Hosting this visit is reported to have cost Cecil 1487 pounds.
In 1607, James I swapped Hatfield House with Robert Cecil for Theobalds.
King James I
James I first visited Theobalds in 1603 and it quickly became his favourite hunting lodge, where he spent much of his later life.
Following his and Queen Anne's acquisition of the estate in 1607, the King had a 2500-acre deer hunting ground created. Hunting was a favourite pastime of the Royal Family during the 17th century and they enjoyed many sessions at Theobalds.
In 1620, the King had a brick wall built around the estate. On an evening horse ride on 9 January 1622, he fell into the icy New River and was helped out by Sir Richard Young, who returned him to a warm bed at Theobalds.
The King died at Theobalds on 27 March 1625, from a stroke following a bout of poor health.
Munten Jennings was Robert Cecil's gardener at Theobalds until James I acquired the estate. He then served as both James I's gardener at Theobalds and Cecil's at Hatfield House. He also served as the gardener at Cranborne Manor. Jennings also went by the names Mountain and Montague — the nearby Montayne Road may be named after him.
King Charles I
Charles inherited Theobalds from James I. The palace was conveniently located near to London — after a failed attempt to arrest five Members of Parliament on 4 January 1642, Charles fled to Theobalds.
Despite a very happy childhood at Theobalds, the King had complained in 1624 that there is no kind of field-hawking there. Despite this, he added several carvings and paintings of stag heads to the Great Gallery, giving the impression that he did spend time there and wanted to impress visitors, however he may not have hunted on the grounds as much as his father did, or even at all.
Major-General William Packer
William Packer was a Major General during the English Civil War. To support the troops, he sold the lead from buildings at Theobalds that had either been demolished for this purpose or destroyed in the war. It is believed that George Prescott used the remaining unsold materials over a century later, to build Theobalds Square.