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Photographs of Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn in Kent with cottages in the vicinity.

Hever Castle from the entrance - winter 2008

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Despite the trappings of drawbridge, portcullis, arrow slits and turrets, Hever Castle is not so much a medieval fortress as a fifteenth century moated manor house.

Dating back to the thirteenth century, Hever Castle was bought by Anne Boleyn’s great-grandfather in 1462 and it was he who built the Tudor house around the ancient gatehouse. Hever Castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, and rose from obscurity as the setting for her courtship by King Henry VIII. After Anne’s death the castle reverted to the crown, and Henry eventually gave it to his divorced fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, who owned it for seventeen years. From then until the beginning of the twentieth century the castle was lived in by a number of families, the most notable being the Waldegraves and the Meade Waldos. (Anne Boleyn of course was executed with the approval of Henry VIII)

There have been three main periods in the construction of this historic castle in the beautiful Kent countryside, and their dates are conveniently remembered as 1300, 1500 and 1900. The oldest part of the castle was built in around 1270 and consisted of the massive gatehouse and a walled bailey, all surrounded by a moat and approached by a wooden drawbridge. Two hundred years later in about 1500 the Bullen family added a comfortable Tudor dwelling house inside the protective wall.

Finally in 1903 the Castle was bought by William Waldorf Astor, an American who lavished millions of dollars on restoring the castle itself, filling it with treasures, building the Tudor Village and creating the gardens and lake. Much of what the visitor sees today is the result of his imagination, high standards of perfection and of course money. It is remarkable that the characteristic gold and grey sandstone from which much of the Tudor Village was built in 1903-1906 was quarried from exactly the same seams at Ide Hill, a few miles from Hever, that produced the stone ro build the original castle six hundred years before.

During the period 1903-08 William Waldorf Astor employed 800 workmen for a period of three years to develop the garden and build the lake. He wanted to live in twentieth century style and comfort and to entertain lavishly and at the same time preserve the Castle itself and perpetuate its historical associations. Because the castle was too small for this purpose he engaged an architect to build a complete Tudor-style ‘village’ containing more than one hundred rooms, on the far side of the Castle moat and to join it to the Castle by a covered bridge. The new village was to appear as if each separate ‘cottage’ had been designed and built by a different person, so that the whole would be made up of varying materials, shapes, angles and styles. Inside the structure however all the rooms were to be joined up by corridors and service areas. In 1981 the Astor family sold Hever Castle and its surrounding estate of about 3,500 acres to Broadland Properties Limited, a Yorkshire Based private company.

 

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Photographs of Hever Castle November 2006 

               


Hever CastleThe MoteThe CastleGate EntranceTopiary
WalkwayTopiary Chess SetOld WisteriaA Pretty CornerRose Garden
        

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RhododenronsGardensWalkwayMan Made LakeGardensTudor Village
Tudor VillageWalkwayFinch     
 

Photographs of Hever Castle November 2006  

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