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Hever Castle.jpg

Hever Castle is located in the village of Hever in the Sevenoaks District of Kent in England, and was the seat of the Boleyn, originally 'Bullen', family.[1] It began as a country house, built in the 13th century and was converted into a manor in 1462 by Geoffrey Boleyn, who served as Lord Mayor of the City of London.

Contents

History

In about 1505 Hever Castle became home to Thomas Boleyn and his children George, Mary, and Anne, the future wife of Henry VIII. Anne was probably not born at Hever (the year of her birth is not known for certain) but she did live there until she was sent to the Netherlands in 1513 to receive an education at the court of the Archduchess Margaret.

The property came into the possession of Henry VIII after the death of Anne's father, Thomas Boleyn, in 1539. He bestowed it upon Anne of Cleves in 1540 as part of the settlement following the annulment of their marriage. Although it is thought that Anne spent little time at Hever, she did die in the castle. Hever Castle still has one of Henry's private locks, taken with him on his various visits to noblemen's houses and fitted to every door for his security.[1]

The building subsequently passed through various owners, including the Waldegrave family in 1557 and the Meade Waldo family from 1749 to 1903. During this latter period of ownership the castle fell into a poor state of repair, during which time it was leased to various private tenants. In 1906 it was acquired and completely restored by the American millionaire William Waldorf Astor, who used it as a family residence. [2] Since 1983 the castle has been owned by Broadland Properties Limited. 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 gatehouse. In the castle there are exhibits from differing historical eras, including instruments of torture and a museum of the Kent Yeomanry.

The remains of the original country house timbers can still be seen within the stone walls of the fortification.

Tourist attraction

Today the castle is popular with visitors, attracting large crowds especially during the spring and summer months. Most visitors are drawn for the castle history, elegant gardens, and boating lake. 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 has a wide range of features including an Italianate garden, rose gardens, and a lake.

References

  1. ^ a b Jenkins, Simon (2003). Discover Britain's historic houses. The Southeast. Pub. Reader's Digest. ISBN 0-276-44068-4. P. 43.
  2. ^ John Turner, ‘Astor, William Waldorf, first Viscount Astor (1848–1919)’, rev. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004;

External links

Coordinates: 51°11′13″N 0°06′50″E / 51.18694°N 0.11389°E / 51.18694; 0.11389

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