Hever Castle is where many Anne Boleyn fans make a pilgrimage to walk in Anne’s footsteps, to see her family home, to view her portraits and Books of Hours, and to try and catch a glimpse of her ghost.
Although this castle was the Boleyn family home, if Anne Boleyn was born in 1501, which is what many historians now believe, then it is unlikely that Anne was born at Hever. At the time of her birth, it is widely thought that the Boleyn family lived at Blickling in Norfolk, a house that no longer stands but which is now the site of Blickling Hall. However, it really doesn’t matter where Anne was born, Hever Castle was her home when she was growing up, it was where she was banished to when Wolsey prevented her marriage to Henry Percy and where she retreated to when she fled from the English Court, it was where Henry visited her and it was also where she won her battle againsts the sweating sickness that killed so many. Hever Castle is a must-see for Anne Boleyn fans!
So, what does Hever Castle offer Anne Boleyn fans today?
Well, you can check out the main Hever Castle page to find out about the castle’s attractions, but here are the special Anne Boleyn related attractions:-
- Anne Boleyn’s bedroom – It is thought that the first room on the upper floor was Anne’s bedroom, which she may have shared with her sister Mary. It still has its 15th century domed ceiling and has a beautiful portrait of Anne on the wall with her wearing her signature B necklace and her stylish French hood. In this bedroom, there is also a bed head which was once thought to be part of Anne’s bed, because it has the words “Part of Anne Boleyn’s bed from Hever 1520” carved into it, but it is now known to only date back to around 1600.
- The ghost of Anne Boleyn – Anne Boleyn’s ghost is very busy because it haunts the Tower of London, Blickling Hall and Hever Castle (sorry about the sarcasm!). In fact, according to Hever Castle, Anne Boleyn’s ghost holds the record for the most sighted spirit, having been seen over 30,000 times in around 120 locations. If you are a fan of paranormal happenings, you might want to check out the “Most Haunted” videos that were filmed at Hever Castle – see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbOsbRLccN0.
- Anne Boleyn’s Books of Hours – Hever Castle has two of Anne Boleyn’s personal prayer books on display. They are beautifully illiminated and have both been written in by Anne and signed by her. One has the words “Le temps viendra, Je Anne Boleyn” (“the time will come, I, Anne Boleyn”) and the other, which is rumoured to be the one that Anne took with her to her execution, bears the inscription “Remember me when you do pray that hope doth lead from day to day. Anne Boleyn”.
- The tapestry showing the marriage of Louis XII of France and Princess Mary (Henry VIII’s sister) – Anne Boleyn accompanied Mary to France so it is likely that she is depicted in this tapestry.
- The marriage plaque – This plaque has the coats of arms of the Boleyn/Howard family, Henry VIII and Anne, and its notches show that the King and Sir Thomas Boleyn were jousting champions.
- The Boleyn (Bullen) coat of arms on the fireplace in the dining hall.
- A replica of Henry VIII’s wedding gift to Anne – At Hever, you can see a replica of the silver clock that Henry gave to Anne.
- Tudor portraits – Hever is home to many portraits of Tudor personalities, including Henry VIII, Anne herself, Mary Boleyn, Anne’s daughter Elizabeth I, Henry VII, Elizabeth of York and Henry VIII’s six wives.
- Henry VIII’s Bedchamber – Although it is not known whether this large room was where the King stayed when he visited the Boleyn family, it is definitely fit for a king. Its ceiling dates from around 1462 and the wooden panelling from 1565. A later panel over the “tester” bed has carvings of Henry and the two queens who resided at Hever – Anne Boleyn and Anne of Cleves.
You can read my blog post on Hever Castle and other Anne Boleyn places at http://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/anne-boleyn-places/362/
Fancy staying at Anne Boleyn’s childhood home? Well, you can! Find out about our special “Anne Boleyn Experience 2010” tour – click here.