Welcome back to our tour of England. Sit back, grab a cup of tea and a freshly baked scone…. and enjoy your visit to Hever Castle.
Here is a quick history of Hever Castle:
The beautiful Hever Castle, situated in the lovely Kent countryside in England, dates back more than 700 years but was lovingly restored in the early 20th century by William Waldorf Astor, a wealthy American.
The oldest part of this charming castle was built in about 1270 and was owned by William de Hever, a Sheriff under King Edward I. This medieval castle was made up of a huge gatehouse and walled bailey which were surrounded by a moat, for defence, and entered by a wooden drawbridge. When the “Bullen” family took control of the castle in the 15th century, they added a Tudor house inside the castle walls.
Sir Thomas Bullen, later known as Boleyn, inherited Hever Castle from his father Sir William Bullen in 1505 and made it into a family home for his wife, Elizabeth Howard, and three children – Mary, Anne and George. The castle is famous for being the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII, who was executed in 1536 after being Queen for just 1,000 days.
After Anne Boleyn was executed for treason and adultery, along with her brother George, Thomas Boleyn became shunned by the Court and led an unhappy two years until his death in 1538. It is then that the castle fell into the hands of Henry VIII who gave it to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, when he divorced her in 1540. Anne of Cleves lived at Hever Castle as “The King’s Sister” until her death in 1557 when it was bought by Sir Edward Waldegrave.
The castle remained in the Waldegrave family for 160 years until it was deemed too small for James Waldegrave, Ambassador to France and 1st Earl Waldegrave. The castle was sold in the early 1700s to Sir William Humphrey (see, I TOLD you I was descended from Royalty – lol), Lord Mayor of London (1714) and remained in the Humphreys family until 1749 when it became owned by Sir Timothy Waldo.
Sadly, as Hever Castle was passed through the Humphrey, Waldo and Meade-Waldo families it gradually declined and was in a very sorry state by the end of the 19th century and probably would have turned into an uninhabited ruin if William Waldorf Astor had not stepped in and bought it in 1903.
This is Hever Church, where Anne Boleyn’s father was buried. There were also several Humphrey family members buried here. One of our greatest disappointments was not being able to get pictures of the graveyard and headstones. It was pouring cats and dogs when we came out of the Castle.
The gate entrance leading to the drive up to Hever.
Once we entered, a short walk down a path lead to this…
Bill and I have a tradition of “Self Portraits.”
Some are quite funny.
Loved all the topiaries on the grounds leading up to the Castle.
I was ready to move in. I literally fell in love with this place!
Now that’s what you call Curb Appeal.
We arrived about 30 mins before the Castle opened, so we took a stroll around the grounds.
There were hidden pathways and little nooks everywhere you looked. I can only imagine how breathtaking these grounds are in the Spring and Summer months, and even the Fall when the leaves fade into their Autumnal show.
Love this small boxwood garden.
This is the alleyway of a snow grotto they had set up. It was filled with cuttings of fresh pine, and it smelled amazing. There were white sparkly lights throughout. Very pretty!
Fountains, fountains everywhere…
You can see in the pic above that the skies were starting to darken. Eek!
Can you see behind the plaque how the shrubs are clipped into large chess pieces?
Everywhere you looked, there were small paths which lead to statuary or urns.
This Tudor style section of the Castle is the 100-room area that William Astor added in the early 1900’s. He did not want it to distract or compete with the architecture of the Castle, so he chose a Tudor-style instead. He connected this area with an enclosed walkway which passed over the moat. We found out while we were there that you can actually stay at Hever Castle in suites located in the “new” section. This is also a popular area for weddings. Can you imagine having this as a backdrop for your wedding?
You can see the copper-roof covered walkway which connects the two sections above.
We just could not get over how green the grounds were at the end of Winter.
The Castle is officially open….
Let’s walk under the portcullis and into the inner Courtyard….
Although restored, most of this stone and woodwork is original to the Castle.
It was surreal to think that these were the same grounds, the same hallways, the same steps as Anne and Henry VIII walked while they were courting.
I love this front entrance. Can you imagine how pretty it must be when these vines are in bloom.
From this point, we were not allowed to take pictures inside the Castle. 🙁
But, here are a few I found on the website. I don’t even know if pictures could do it justice.
(That’s like telling a child NOT to do something.)
This is the bedroom where Henry stayed while he was courting Anne. The furniture dates back to the 1300 and 1400’s.
This was enclosed in a special glass case, but I found it absolutely fascinating. This is the prayer book which Anne took with her to her beheading.
I also learned a little ditty to keep up with the wives….
Divorced, Beheaded, Died…
Divorced, Beheaded, Survived.
The above room was part of the Astor suite and is all original. Isn’t it beautiful. No expense was spared during the remodel in
Once we left the Castle, it had started to rain pretty hard and temperatures were dropping fast. But, we knew we could not leave without taking a tour of the Astor Gardens which took five years to install. While Mr Astor loved in Italy, he amassed a small fortune in statuary, fountains and artwork. Some items featured in this garden are over 2000 years old.
There are a lot of pictures…so I will just let you enjoy them.
Just admiring all of the “little” details. 🙂
That ends the tour of Hever Castle and Gardens. Next, I will share our visit to Windsor Castle.
Thanks for coming along.
If you missed the tour of Tonbridge, England – click HERE.