SCENTS of 16th century nobility are being shared with visitors to a restored former priory in Yorkshire’s medieval capital this summer.
A new perfume featuring notes of rose, lemon, violet, cherry and musk - tones which would have been popular among wealthy Tudors 500 years ago - has been created at Barley Hall, York, to give a powerful impression of a period in history which is retold in the Hall’s new exhibition called ‘Power & Glory: York in the Time of Henry VIII’.
Aptly named ‘Décapitation’, it is designed to be a sensual fragrance, in a nod to how Henry VIII’s fifth wife, Catherine Howard, was said to have had an illicit liaison with Thomas Culpeper during her visit to York in 1541.
The Barley Hall team worked with historic researchers and European perfumiers to concoct the fragrance that they believe captures the essence of the femme fatale, whose alleged affair saw both her and Culpeper executed at the King’s behest.
Sarah Maltby, attractions director for York Archaeological Trust, which owns Barley Hall, said: “Though we don’t want to cause our visitors to embark on an illicit affair after experiencing the intoxicating bouquet, we hope that it will set the scene for those visiting York this summer to feel fully immersed in the city’s rich history on this sensual journey through time.
“The perfume will be regularly diffused into the room where we have displays of dresses from major costume dramas, and a replica of Catherine Howard’s dress from the Heaver Castle collection.”
The fragrance can be sampled at Barley Hall throughout the summer.