Hever Castle

Hever Castle & Gardens, Kent

Hever Castle is located in Kent, about 30 miles southeast of London.

Hever Castle was bulit in 1270 and consisted of a Gatehouse and walled Bailey, which were sourrounded by a moat, with a wooden drawbridge. In 1500 a Tudor dwelling was added within the protective wall. Finally, in 1903 the castle was restored and a Tudor village, gardens and lake created

The castle is best known as the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, and it was her family who added the comfortable Tudor manor house within these earlier walls in about 1500. Henry VIII wooed Anne at Hever Castle and there are various exhibitions in the castle featuring Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Henry VIII later gave Hever Castle to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves and there is an exhibition in the castle about Anne of Cleves and Henry VIII’s wives.

Hever Castle, in Kent, England (in the village of Hever), was the seat of the Boleyn family. Originally a farmhouse, it was built in the 13th century and converted into a manor in 1462 by Geoffrey Boleyn, who served as Lord Mayor of London. The remains of the timber dwelling can still be seen within the stone walls of the fortification. Some time after 1505, the Boleyn family moved in, and Anne Boleyn (and her siblings, Mary Boleyn and George Boleyn), although probably not born here, did grow up here for a time, before she was sent to the Netherlands and then to the French court for her education from 1513 to 1521. After Anne married King Henry VIII of England, and she and her brother George were executed in 1536 and her father Thomas Boleyn died in 1539, the property came into the possession of Henry VIII. He bestowed it on Anne of Cleves when he divorced her (1540), but she probably spent little time there.

The building subsequently passed through various owners, including the Waldegrave family in 1557, and the Meade Waldo family from 1749-1903. During this latter period of ownership, the castle fell into a poor state of repairs, during which time it was leased to various private tenants, until it was acquired and completely restored by the American millionaire William Waldorf Astor, who used it as a family residence. The estate is now run as a conference centre, but the castle is open to the public and is particularly well known for its mazes. The only original part of Hever Castle is the magnificent gatehouse. In the castle there are also many intruments of torture.

There is a yew maze, planted in 1904, as well as a more recent addition, a water maze, which opened in 1987.

The garden is large and of the highest quality with a large range of features including an Italianate garden, rose gardens and a lake.
Text in part provided by our friends at wikipedia

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