Historians and antiquarians were aware of the statues' existance, and it was discovered that the the lions would have been known as "kyng's beestes" - heraldic animals that once been sprinkled generously around royal residences. Additionally, the pub where they had been originally rescued was on a direct path between two Tudor royal palaces - Hampton Court and the legendary Nonsuch Palace - so the theory that they might well have graced one of the royal palaces seemed to fit.
PHOTO CREDIT: www.telegraph.co.uk.
To celebrate Henry's 500th anniversary year, a new garden in Tudor style was commissioned from historian and garden designer Todd Longstaffe-Gowan. His design for what is now known as the Chapel Court Tudor Garden included a number of hand-carved and painted heraldic beasts standing post among the flowerbeds - traditional ornamentation that would have been familiar in Tudor times. Longstaffe-Gowan was thrilled to have the beasts returned to England as part of the display. He says historians "are agreed that these are early 16th century carving, undoubtedly royal, from which palace we don't know. They're made from Taynton stone - from Oxfordshire - which is very hard and was commonly used by all Henry VIII's stonemasons. They may have been polychromed originally."
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