On October 10th, 1483 it is believed that King Richard III stayed the night at Gainsborough Old Hall on his way to London from York entertained by his host, Sir Thomas Burgh II, then the owner of Gainsborough Old Hall. Sir Thomas had previously won the confidence of King Richard sufficiently to have been made a knight of the Garter, but shortly after this visit Burgh appears to have switched his allegiance to King Richard’s Lancastrian opponent in the Wars of the Roses, Henry Tudor, who would later become King Henry VII.
In August 1541 it is reputed that King Henry VIII, visited Gainsborough Old Hall whilst journeying from Lincoln to York. Historical letters relating to King Henry exist which suggest that he left Lincoln on 12th August to coincide with important Privy Council meetings, taking place in Gainsborough, on 14th,15th and 16th August. It is conceivable to conclude from this that Henry, accompanied by his young wife Katherine Howard, could well have stayed in Gainsborough for the duration of the meetings and, if so, would most likely have been hosted by Lord Thomas Burgh III of Gainsborough Old Hall. By this time though Henry was considerably obese and had a long standing medical problem relating to ulcerated legs. Popular belief is that the King and Queen slept in the upper bedchamber in the Old Hall’s Tower but Henry’s medical condition would have made climbing the narrow staircase rather difficult.