The magic of Hever Castle

Posted By on October 9, 2018

I’ve been fortunate to have visited Hever Castle on a number of occasions and to have stayed there several times and I can hand-on-heart say that there is something truly magical about it.

I don’t know what it is – and I don’t believe that I’m Anne Boleyn reincarnated or anything – but Hever just gets to me. It casts a spell on me every single time I go and it definitely has a piece of my heart.

I’m quite literally counting the days until I get to go there again (215 days at time of writing!) on the Anne Boleyn Experience 2019, when I spend 4 nights at Hever with people who are just as obsessed with Tudor history as I am – yay!

I’ve tried to explain just how magical Hever is in the video below.

If you would like to join me on this magical tour, you can find out more and book your place at https://www.britishhistorytours.com/history-tours/anne-boleyn-2019. I hope to see you soon!

7 thoughts on “The magic of Hever Castle”

  1. Christine says:

    I agree Hever does weave its spell on the visitor as apart from the fairytale look of the castle and beautiful gardens, to the Tudor enthusiast it is connected forever with the sad story of Henry V111’s doomed second queen, to her many legions of fans far and wide to visit her childhood home where she must have spent many happy days and sad ones to it is the place where one can feel a part of her, it is where she arrived having been banished from court after her indescretions with the young Harry Percy became known,her dreams of love and romance ruined and it is where as Claire mentions, she escaped from the King when his cloying affection became to much for her, it is where as a young girl she must have ridden with her siblings in the peaceful countryside and stitched quietly at her needlework in the charming rooms hung with heavy drapes and on cold winter nights, near the huge tackling fires they would light, maybe she would have helped decorate the halls with greenery when christmas drew near and she would have wandered in the long gallery on rainy days and maybe practised the latest court dances with her mother and sister, I believe she was truly happy there before her ambition was tempted which led her on the road to her own destruction, her bedroom to can be seen with its huge tester but is it her bed or a later edition, it’s easy to picture her looking out through the narrow windows after hearing the bugle announcing the arrival of the King did it overlook the drive so she could see the King and his party clattering up the cobbles, her flustered father and mother hovering around the colourfully bedecked monarch, as is often shown in films? What we do know of Anne is that Hever was witness to many a turbulent stage of her life, the very frustration she would have felt when Wolsley could not secure the divorce, the anxiety that her dreams were being thwarted time and again, maybe Mary had resided there after the King had finished with her and she had seen her tears, ( if she had truly loved him at all) maybe she had wept with her over the death of her young husband, and commiserated with her over her hardship at having to raise her children alone, it had seen times of great joy and happiness and utmost despair after the dreadful events of May 1536, now Hever now stands serene and beautiful in the Kent countryside and the visitor can enjoy many a happy hour there, Annes ancestor Sir Geoffrey Boleyn had had it covered into a Manor House from the original early castle that it once was, it was turned into a charming family home and several generations of the Boleyn family had lived there, Lord Astor had had the Tudor village built in keeping with its history and there are beautiful paintings hanging on the panelled walls, both Anne and her sister or it is believed to be Mary Boleyn hang side by side, both women in the full flush of womanhood, were they rivals for the affection of Henry V111 we do not know, did Mary feel pangs of jealousy when his eyes fell on her young sister? what was said between Henry and Anne in private in the walls of Hever and the surrounding countryside as they walked and hunted together, that also is something only Hever Castle knows and she will not give up her secrets, on a gothic note the Most Haunted team on the television conducted a vigil there over a day and a night and believed they caught the spirit of a horse who is said to canter along the gallery, Anne they did not come into contact with who no doubt thought it an impertinence that these people should dare to trouble her from her rest, but walking through the rooms one can imagine we can catch a glimpse of her gown disappearing round a corner or hear a footstep on the floor, or hear laughter coming from another room, out of all the palaces she lived in I’m sure Anne Boleyn’s ghost chooses to visit Hever Castle more as it was where she was truly happy, before the trauma of her later years.

  2. Caro says:

    It is truly a magical place. It is so full of atmosphere. I begged my parents to take me there when I was a youngster only to find it closed. I luckily was taken the following year. Thank goodness my parents had the same interest in history, especially Anne and the Tudors.
    I visited again a few years ago (too long ago) and got another ticket to go around a second time when the castle was empty and nearly closing ,except for the staff and my brother and myself. To stand and look at her book of hours and literally walk in her footsteps is a very special experience

    1. Claire says:

      I’m glad you were able to go back and also revisit it as an adult. I just love it there, I can’t get enough of it.

  3. Banditqueen says:

    I have never been to Hever Castle but maybe one day. It does look like a beautiful and magical place. I have of course seen it on the documentaries and beautiful videos and think it looks lovely. There are also some tangible remains of Anne there, her Book of Hours for example. I can imagine George and Anne and Mary playing hide and seek in the gardens, so many family memories must have run through that house, the visitors who must have come there, including the King, Henry Viii and people who lived there afterwards, like Anne of Cleves.

    Anne and George and Mary must have run up and down that beautiful covered long gallery which their father built and which everyone used as a place of exercise and entertainment on days too wet or cold to go into the grounds in the snow. I don’t know if Tudor children had toys but they did play games as did adults and I can imagine a game piece or two scattered around. I can imagine the ladies and gentlemen taking a stroll along the gallery and maybe Henry wandering down there with Anne on his arm, or maybe she was being coy and Henry tried to take her hand and she moved away, pointing out some features of the house or carrying a book and reading from it.

    I can imagine the children in the nursery, the parents by an open fire, putting the Tudor Court to rights. I can imagine Mary preparing for her soon to be wedding, the sisters in their room sharing secrets and fears. I can imagine Anne reading the letters from Henry to a listening brother or sister and I can hear her laughing or crying as her heart is torn this way and that. I can imagine the newly sophisticated Anne returning from France with new ideas and so much to tell, reunited with Mary as they catch up, now a married woman with a child and so much fashionable talk to exchange. I can imagine as the King is holding his entertainment at Court and Thomas, long in his services, maybe drops a hint that his two beautiful daughters would do well there.

    There must have been so many important conversations. In these rooms and halls, how many times did Thomas and Elizabeth discus the problems of the succession, the Kings Great Matter, the family interest in reforms, the career of their son, how many times did Anne and George talk about religion and their dreams and Anne’s relationship with the King? How many conversations about bringing the translation of German and French works on reforming England and helping Tyndale bring his words to the English Court took place at Hever, away from the spies at Court? How many times did Anne wish she could retreat here as she became the centre of Henry’s world and time drew on without any end to his marriage?

    Did Anne wish she could return home as her marriage seemed further and further away? When she ran home in 1529 after the collapse of the Blackfriars Court did she wonder why she had not wed another long ago? We are told that Anne cried because she had lost her early youth and wasted so many years by not marrying, having the great joy of children and Henry had to beg her father to ask her to come back to the Capital. At this time her sister was at hime, a young widow and her two children were given into Anne’s protection to provide for them, and, it would be nice to see them as spending time together as a family should.

    I love that there is the Book of Hours, written in by Anne and that there is a portrait which is close to an original image of Anne, although not actually contemporary. I love the fact that there is also a bed which was the marriage bed of Henry Tudor and Elizabeth of York, originally found up North in Chester. Genuine early Tudor beds are hard to find so this was a very rare and beautiful discovery that tells us so much about their craftsmanship and their intimate ideas. I would love to go one day, maybe I may join next year.

  4. Christine says:

    I remember when Lucy Worsley visited Hever and she was holding the book of hours in her hands and she said she found it so thrilling to hold something which Anne had held, in the fly leaf Anne had written ‘I Anne Boleyn’ and Lucy commented maybe she had written that as she was so sure of her destiny, she sensed something great was going to happen to her, you can hire Hever Castle for functions, there have been weddings there and possibly other family celebrations but its possibly very expensive.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      I remember that, it is such a personal and beautiful intimate thing, these Book of Hours were made for the person to order by crafted people and monks and by hand of course, they were made based on their favourite saints and they may have been given by another family member and they were passed down as well via the generations but they were always tied to one particular person. Anne has indicated to us that this is very personal to her, with I, Anne Boleyn and also as a sense of Destiny, although remember we can read that with hindsight, Anne probably was just claiming the Book as her own.

      The Book of Hours of Richard iii is interesting because he annotated it throughout and we know his annotation of his birthday on the page of the Ascension was placed there after he became King, because of the use of his kingship in the signature. It is also available online. There is also a beautiful one belonging to Claude of France, who Anne served online. I love these Books of Hours, they are so wonderfully illuminated. Can you imagine how many hours and days it took to make such a Book? They are true treasures.

      One of my favourite places I have seen in documentaries in Hever is a little chapel off what is believed to have been Anne’s bedroom, which is very quaint and not too far removed from the sort of chapel she would have had, small alter and piet deiu and kneeler and place for a tabernacle were the Host would have been kept and here Mass said. There are of course the usual problems, as the Chapel dates from the time of Edward Redgrave, a Catholic gentleman who lived there after it was pinched from Anne of Cleves by Edward Vi. However, it is very much the type of small Chapel an important person may have off their room for Mass at the time of Henry Viii, although Anne would have heard it in the Parish Church or if the family had their own Chapel. It is just such a lovely quaint little place, I really want to see it.

      Yes, it would be a beautiful place to have a wedding and if I find a rich old man who would like to be my sugar daddy and second husband and support me and Steve, Hever will be on my list for a location. There was a wedding on when we went to Hardwick Hall, which meant we saw the House back to front. We also came top to bottom and it was easier for me, but it was weird as the bride was in the middle of the Great Hall having pictures taken with people moving around her. The photographer held everyone up and we respected that but he took so long setting up for one shot that the bride kindly waived us passed her. It all looked beautiful, but it must have cost a small fortune.

      1. Christine says:

        I’d love to hire Hever castle for my milestone 60th birthday bash think il start saving!

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