Hever Castle, Kent
Hever Castle in Kent is renowned for being the former home of Anne Boleyn, wife of Henry VIII. It’s the ghost of Anne Boleyn that has been witnessed here many times throughout the years.
Built around 1270, Hever Castle then consisted of a walled bailey surrounded by a moat. In 1460, a wealthy London merchant named Henry Bullen purchased the castle and converted it to a Tudor dwelling. His son, Thomas, changed his surname to Boleyn and later married Elizabeth Howard, the daughter of the Duke of Norfolk.
Thomas and Elizabeth had many children together, and one of whom was Anne Boleyn.
It’s not known whether Anne was born in the castle or not, but the likelihood is that she was. It was here was Henry VIII first laid eyes on her during an affair with Anne’s sister, Mary, whilst he was still married to Catherine of Aragon. Henry was sure Anne would provide nothing but token resistance.
However, Anne was strong-willed and had other ideas. If Henry wanted her, he would have to show his commitment and love by marrying her first. This began a game of cat and mouse, was Henry fought for her affection.
Henry later began his attempts to divorce Catherine, installing Anne as Marchioness of Pembroke. Anne travelled everywhere with Henry, staying in her Royal apartments. They were secretly married in January 1533, by which time Anne was pregnant.
In June of that year, Anne’s ambitions were realised, and she was declared Queen. It was widely proclaimed as a poor decision by the King. As such, Anne had many enemies and was thought of by many as a witch for seducing their King and driving a wedge between the Church and the State.
In September, Anne gave birth to their first child, Elizabeth. Henry, who had long hoped for a son and heir, was disappointed yet not wholly despairing. Anne was to become pregnant again. However, she suffered a miscarriage, and Henry’s interest in her began to wane. He found comfort in the arms of Anne’s maid of honour, Jane Seymour.
Anne’s detractors began to spread rumours of affairs, and on May 2 1536, she was arrested and charged with adultery and incest. Anne was sentenced to death at the Tower of London and was beheaded on May 19, 1536.
Ghosts at Hever Castle
Anne Boleyn’s ghostly apparition has been seen wandering the castle’s gardens, often drifting over the bridge that crosses the River Eden. Perhaps she is returning to a place where she spent many happy years and from where she began her journey that would change the face of history for England.
If you want to catch a glimpse of her ghost, it’s believed she appears most often on Christmas Eve.
Other ghosts at Hever Castle include an unknown unhappy ghost who wanders the gallery, often groaning and banging. A phantom horse has also been seen, galloping through the long gallery.
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Visiting Hever Castle
Tickets for tours at Hever Castle are booked online in advance. The Castle and Gardens are open daily from 12:00 pm and 11:30 am, respectively.
Special events are held throughout the year, so check their website for more information and up to date ticket info and opening times.
You can also stay at the castle as they offer a Bed and Breakfast in the Astor Wing. Check availability here.
Address: Hever Rd, Hever, Edenbridge TN8 7NG