Anne of Cleves’ divorce settlement home on the market

9th March 2015 by


As divorce solicitors in Brighton, we were interested to hear in May 2014 that a house had gone up for sale in Ditchling, near Lewes, East Sussex. What made the house noteworthy was that the vendor, TV personality Jamie Theakston, told reporters he believed the house had been given to Anne of Cleves in her divorce settlement from King Henry VIII.

Divorces in the time of the notorious monarch were not as they are now, and it is unlikely Anne of Cleves had the kind of legal representation today’s high-profile spouse’s demand if their marriage fails.

Luckily though, for anyone seeking a Brighton divorce solicitor today, the family and matrimonial team at Healys LLP are here to help. To find out more about our services please click here.

The divorce rhyme that, maybe, never was

Many British schoolchildren will have been taught a rhyme to help them remember what happened to each of Henry’s consorts. Relating to Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr respectively, it goes divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived.

Yet, at this time in English history, laws relating to marriage were very different. Being under the jurisdiction of canon law (laws regulated by the Church) marriage was deemed to be for life – divorce was not possible under Roman Catholic tenet.

Henry’s two marriages certainly ended, but whether they were annulled (as some historians say) or subject to divorce proceedings is debated.

What is certain is that Henry’s ending of the marriages was not well-received by the Pope and the ensuing furore led to King Henry VIII being made Supreme Head of the Church of England. Under the parliamentary Act of Supremacy in 1534, this manoeuvre enabled Henry to take control of the Protestant Church, dissolve the Catholic monasteries and, effectively, break his ties with Vatican City.

Anne of Cleves’ divorce/annulment house

When learning that Henry wished to end their marriage, 19-year-old Anne agreed to the divorce/annulment out of fear that her life might be in danger if she did not agree. The house in Ditchling is reported to have been a part of the generous financial settlement Henry afforded her, but local historians believe she may never have lived there.

It is recorded, however, that Henry was so relieved Anne granted him a divorce/annulment that, along with Wings Place in Ditchling, he gave her a number of estates, including Richmond Palace and Hever Castle.

Getting a divorce in Brighton today

Whether your family home is a large country residence in Lewes or a one-bedroom flat in Brighton, if your marriage has ended you and your spouse will have to decide how the asset is to be shared.

While it is much easier now to get a divorce under English and Welsh family law, you will almost certainly still need the advice of an experienced divorce solicitor to help you negotiate a fair financial settlement.

To speak to a divorce solicitor in Brighton why not call Healys LLP. We can be with you every step of the way to advise and represent you during this difficult time and to ensure your best interests are maintained.