The Washingtons of Sulgrave Manor breaks new ground in telling the story of how our country was formed. The story begins in 1529, the time Henry VIII, during the most turbulent social and economic changes in English history. The Merchant Class was on the rise and the Washingtons left their comfortable life in Northern England to become wool traders in the Midlands. The Washingtons were emblematic of their time. As English trade mushroomed, George Washington's ancestor, Lawrence Washington, became rich. Lawrence, his sons and grandsons cultivated relationships with the Crown and for three generations, they prospered. But in the English Civil War, the family's allegiance to the King became a liability. Parliament seized power and the Washingtons were swept to near ruin, In 1656, with his prospects in England looking bleak, George Washington's great-grandfather John entered the sea trade with the Virginia Colony. After a potentiall disastrous accident with his ship, John stayed in Virginia and ... the rest is history.