What kind of fountain did Henry VIII have?

King Henry VIII adored novelty, bling and dispensing his largesse – and a gigantic golden fountain flowing wine instead of water ticked all his Tudor boxes.

What kind of fountain did Henry VIII have? (public domain)

The wine fountain – or it could be named the ‘bling spring’ – combined two of Henry’s loves: wine and showing off.


The famous painting of Henry’s meeting with the French King Francis I at the Field of the Cloth of Gold shows such a fountain in full flourish.

When archaeologists uncovered the remains of a 16th-century fountain at Hampton Court Palace, they just had to recreate it.

Four metres high and made of timber, lead, bronze and gold leaf, it now pours wine daily for palace visitors. Perhaps a little ‘vulgar’ to modern eyes, Tudor guests would have been dazzled by the gilded glamour on display.


In the days before bottling and corks, wine would have been drunk young, before it had a chance to go ‘off’. Brought from France in barrels it would have tasted very ‘new’ to us, not unlike Beaujolais Nouveau.

Article first published in the August 2015 issue of History Revealed and answered by one of our Q&A experts, Sandra Lawrence.