Pictures of England


Historic Towns & Picturesque Villages

St.Johns Church, Danbury, Essex


in the county of Essex

Mow Cop Castle, Staffordshire

Mow Cop

in the county of Staffordshire

Pictures of Hever Castle

a Castle in the town of Hever, in the county of Kent

About Hever Castle

The very mention of Hever Castle conjures up memories of Anne Boleyn, the bewitching young girl for whom Henry VIII divorced Queen Catherine and changed forever the face of Religious history.

Hever Castle, despite restoration from early in the 20th-century when it was bought by the American millionaire William Waldorf Astor, who cherished the castle and spent a fortune on it, still retains parts that look very much as they did when Anne Boleyn (1507-1536) lived here for almost all of her childhood years. It was perhaps here that she met the king, certainly they courted within these walls.

Dating from around 1270 when the great gatehouse, outer walls and moat were built, the castle was later improved and enlarged when it came into the hands of the Boleyn family who owned Hever between the 15th and 16th-centuries. Their ownership was not to last for long, Anne's father died soon after her own execution, new owners came and went throughout the succeeding centuries and by the time the Astor family purchased in 1903, the once grand castle had reverted to become little more than a farmhouse.

William Waldorf Astor was also responsible for the building of the imitation "Tudor" village just outside the castle grounds. He was a man of impeccable taste and in order that he achieve the very essence of the building as it once was, he engaged the architect F.L.Pearson to assist him. The result is the magnificent building we see today.

The interior still has some of the original panelling, but much of the newer woodwork with its carved decoration and the intricate plaster ceilings far exceed anything left by the craftsmen of Tudor times.

The rooms within the castle are sumptuously furnished and decorated with lavish fabrics, tapestries and paintings collected by the Waldorf family from all over the world. There is splendid sculpture, an outstanding collection of armour and portraits of Anne Boleyn, her sister Mary, Henry VIII and Anne's daughter Elizabeth I.

Interestingly, following his fourth marriage Henry gave Hever Castle to Anne of Cleeves, another discarded wife who fortunately managed to save her head. In the castle visitors can see an exhibition about Anne of Cleeves and Henry VIII's other five wives.

Nestling in superb grounds, both the interior and exterior of this romantic castle are a joy to explore. There is a fascinating Water Maze on the 16 acre Island, and the Yew Maze is fun for children and adults alike. There is a Herb garden, an enchanting Italian garden which includes fine Italian garden statutory from Renaissance times and some Roman sculpture. The lake offers wildlife, water-plants and lovely lakeside walks. In the grounds there is a wealth of magnificent trees, and these with careful planting, help make the landscape a constant source of changing colour in every season of the year - right from the early burst of springtime snowdrops to the crunch of golden autumn leaves.

Hever Castle hosts special events throughout the year; these include lakeside theatre, half-term and holiday events for children, special themed garden events held when the fragrant gardens are at their most colourful, and events celebrating England in Tudor times. One of the loveliest times to visit Hever is during the June "Rose" week when the whole of the castle is decorated with floral displays centred on the use of roses, the most perfect of all English blooms.

Hever Castle is open to the public throughout most of the year. It makes a memorable visit for every member of the family.

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