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a Seaside Town in the county of Norfolk

Pictures of Herstmonceux Castle

a Garden or Park in the town of Herstmonceux, in the county of East Sussex

About Herstmonceux Castle

The 15th century red brick Herstmonceux Castle with its magnificent gatehouse, was built in the romantic era when splendour and luxurious interiors where thought to be as important as military strength.

Reflected serenely in its moated waters, Herstmonceux is every inch proud testimony to England's rich historical past. It was originally built as a country home of the mid 15th century and has all the fairytale trappings of that fabled era. The building, with its arched entrance bridge spanning the moat, towers, bays and turrets, entwines together a scintillating display of Medieval English and romantic Renaissance style.

Herstmonceux is renowned for its perfectly restored Elizabethan gardens and parkland. These are a feast for everyone's eye's with sheer enchantment awaiting at every turn, be it the lily covered lakes, walled garden, or any one of the delightful woodland trails that allow for a peep of nature at her very best. A beautiful Butterfly Garden is planted with sweet scented flowers, attractive to these lovely delicate flying creatures, and there is a stunning Rose garden heady with the perfume of glorious old established blooms. Added to the glory is a lovely walk through beautiful Rhododendrons and a fragrant Herb Garden. There is statutory and old garden steps adorned with urns spilling over with superb varieties of flowers.

The castle has a long history, Roman remains have been found at the site and it is thought a property may have stood here long before Herstmonceux was built. The name Herstmonceux would appear to come from the 12th century when a Saxon lady wedded a Norman nobleman named Ingelram de Monceux. Eventually the name of the owners changed through marriage to Fiennes, a powerful house distinguished by James Fiennes who fought for Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt.

Sir Roger Fiennes, elder brother of James, began building the castle in 1441. However, because of dwindling fortunes, by the 1700's the last Lord Dacre, Earl Of Sussex was forced to sell the castle to Robert Hare who began to dismantle it for building materials for Herstmonceux Place further up the hill. The building disintegrated further and at the turn of the 20th century was almost ruinous when it was purchased by Lt.Col.Claude Lowther in 1911. Claude Lowther was largely responsible for the fact that Herstmonceux Castle remains as we see it today - the foremost English brick building to come out of the 15th century.

Between the castle's inception and coming into the ownership of Sir Paul Latham in 1929, who sold it to the Admiralty in 1946, lies a fascinating history, well worth discovering for yourself on a visit. It is now an International Study Centre attracting students from all parts of the globe. The gardens and grounds are open to the public and subject to availability visitors may take part in a guided tour of the castle, when you can delight in the wonderful architecture of the place, its history, legends and ghosts!

There is a castle gift shop and a tea-room for delicious refreshments. For those unable to join in a guided tour there is a visitor centre with artefacts and photographs from the castle, as well as information sheets.

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