Henry's Parlour: Kings in Farm Buildings

In Bracewell, near Barnoldswick, is a building known as King Henry’s Parlour. It is said that one of England’s most tragic kings, the Lancastrian Henry VI, sheltered here having been defeated at the battle of Hexham in 1464. He was soon captured at the bridge between Clitheroe and Waddington, then called Christian Pig Hill.

He was a deeply religious man, once observing ‘Kingdoms are but cares, riches are but snares’. He was king when Joan of Arc claimed to have received a vision from Mary to drive the English lords out of France during the Hundred Years War. She was burned by the Church as a witch and heretic in 1422, though canonised as a saint in 1922- clear evidence of papal fallibility.

Why was an exalted king sheltering in a northern barn? Our God is the great leveller. He opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Henry wasn’t the first king to have sheltered in an agricultural out-building; the exalted King of the universe was born in one.