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
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
Photos of Hever Castle
Contributed by Nancy
Enright, scanned from "Anne Boleyn" by Norah Lofts
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.
Photo by Dona Carter
courtyard, or "walled bailey". On the second floor, all the windows
look out from long hallways called the "Staircase
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.