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Anne Boleyn. Portrait is at Hever Castle, Kent, England.

 

 

 

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Hever Castle in Kent
Anne Boleyn's Childhood Home

Hever Castle was Anne's childhood home, and provided a backdrop for her courtship with Henry VIII, whom she married in 1533.

Hever castle may have been Anne Boleyn's birthplace, provided her year of birth was 1507. It is more likely that she was born at Blickling Hall  around 1500, but her exact place of birth is unknown.  We would be more apt to know WHERE Anne was born if we could conclusively say WHEN she was born (see Anne's year of birth).

Anne Boleyn's great-grandfather, Geoffrey Bullen, purchased Hever Castle in the 1400's, then passed it along to his grandson Thomas, Anne's father. Thomas Bullen (or "Boleyn") and his family moved to Hever in about 1504 or 1505 from Blickling Hall, where they'd lived previously.

Within one or two years after Anne died, both her parents died as well and left no heirs (their only son George was executed at around the same time as Anne), so Hever Castle became the property of the Crown. Henry VIII gave it as a divorce gift to Anne of Cleves, who lived in it thereafter. It then passed through other hands, and was in a state of abandoned disrepair until the early 1900’s when William Waldorf Astor purchased it, renovated it, and essentially saved it. 

There were three main periods in the construction of Hever Castle: 1300, 1500 and 1900.

The oldest part of the castle was built around 1270, and consisted of the gatehouse and a walled bailey, all surrounded by a moat and approached by a wooden drawbridge. In 1500, the Bullen family added a comfortable family house inside the protective wall.

Finally, in 1903, the castle was purchased by William Waldorf Astor, an American millionaire  who lavished a fortune on restoring the castle, filling it with treasures, building a little "Tudor Village" (which can be rented for events) and creating the gardens and lake (scroll to view photos of these). Much of what you see when you visit (and a visit is heartily recommended!) is the result of his imagination, standards of perfection, and money. 

See Tudor Facts for more information.

Beautiful Video of Hever Castle
by
Jorge Ruiz 

Hever Castle from Jorge Ruiz on Vimeo.

 

Photos of Hever Castle

 

Bedstead in Anne Boleyn's bedroom

Contributed by Nancy Enright, scanned from "Anne Boleyn" by Norah Lofts

Anne's bedstead takes up most of the wall on your right as you enter the room from the hallway. The window is directly facing you from the doorway, with the fireplace on your left.  In the far right hand corner of the room, just on the other side of the bedstead, is a spiral stone staircase. The room is very small and holds only a dozen or so people at a time WITHOUT the full, intact bed. If the bed were in place, you could barely squeeze into the room! As you can see, the walls in this room are stone. Other parts of the house have wood paneling.

Hever in springtime.

Images borrowed from Hever Castle official site

   

Hever in wintertime.

Images borrowed from Hever Castle official site

Photo by Dona Carter

Facing the castle from outer moat from the northwest. 

Anne Boleyn's bedroom is on the second floor on this side of the castle. Henry VIII's bedroom (Thomas and Elizabeth Boleyn's master suite until the king began making frequent visits to the castle) is on the opposite side of the castle in the front.

Hever Castle in winter

Image borrowed from Hever Castle, official site

Photo by Nell Gavin

     

Photo by Dona Carter

View from the south (entrance is at the left). 
On the right (obscured by trees) is the little 
"Tudor Village" built by Astor in the early 1900's.

Hever Castle

Photo by Dona Carter

Bridge across inner moat to castle entrance 
(note how small the castle is.)

Hever Castle

Front gate 
View from inner courtyard.
Image borrowed from 

Hever Castle official site

 

Photo by Dona Carter

The courtyard, or "walled bailey". On the second floor, all the windows 
look out from long hallways called the "Staircase Gallery". 
The other rooms, including bedrooms, are across 
the gallery against the outer wall. The third floor 
contains the Long Gallery, used as a banquet room.

 

Photo by Nell Gavin

Pergola Walk 

Photo by Nell Gavin

Pergola Walk 

Photo by Nell Gavin

Italian Garden 

Photo by Nell Gavin

Garden path 

Photo by Nell Gavin

Lake built by Astor in the early 1900's. 
It is at the far south end of 
the grounds.

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