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Hever Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Hever.
In the historic county of Kent.
Modern Authority of Kent.
1974 county of Kent.
Medieval County of Kent.

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ47824520
Latitude 51.18690° Longitude 0.11385°

Hever Castle has been described as a certain Fortified Manor House.

There are major building remains.

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


Late C13 - early C14 keep with links to square towers at East and West, all battlemented. License to crenellate 1340. New wood footbridge over moat to portcullis in slightly projecting centrepiece of late C14 (another license of 1384) with machicolation above. Back wings of circa 1500, also in stone, with steep tiled roofs and mullioned and transomed windows. Windows inserted in old keep at similar period. Within courtyard restored exposed framing. Interior much restored in early C19. Hever Castle was the home of Anne Boleyn. It changed hands several times until purchased by Mr W W Astor in 1903, when J L and F L Pearson added "The Village" a picturesque cluster of guest cottages. 2-storeys, or one storey and attic, irregular buildings. Some roofs tiled, some of Horsham stone, many gables; some jettied 1st floors. Upper floors mostly half timbered with plastered filling. Ground floors mainly roughly coursed stone with some brickwork. Some timbers carved. Little loggia, around angle of building nearest to Castle, leads to covered bridge over moat. (Listed Building Report)

William de Hever, in the reign of king Edward III. became possessed of the whole of this manor, and new built the mansion here, and had licence to embattle it; soon after which he died, leaving two daughters his coheirs; one of whom, Joane, carried one moiety of this estate in marriage to Reginald Cobham, a younger son of the Cobhams of Cobham, in this county; whence this part of Hever, to distinguish it from the other, acquired the name of Hever Cobham. (Hasted)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1271 Jan 17 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).
A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1383 Nov 3.


Supposed licenses to crenellate dated 1271 (to Stephen de Penecestre, called 'mythical' by Emery, but is actually in the rolls), 1340 (which is not in the rolls and not otherwise identified) and 1383 (to John Cobham and well recorded in the rolls); Emery dates the gateway and walls to this licence of 1383. Where this reference to a licence of 1340 comes from is unclear but seems quite erroneous despite occurring in all the official records of the castle. This erroneous licence does seem to have effected the dating of the castle and all records that use this date must be considered critically.
The 1340 licence seems to come from Hasted who actually gave no date and cites no source. This is much repeated, usually without any citation even to Hasted and never to a primary source. William Hever was sheriff of Kent tempus Edward I and received grant of free warren for Hevre in 1280 (Cal. Chart. Rolls Vol. 2 p. 246). There does not seem to be a primary source reference to a William de Hever (aka Hevre, Heure, d' evere) tempus Edward III (There are many secondary source references but all seem to related to Hasted on the very rare occasions any source is cited). Hasted is usually a reliable scholar but no one is perfect and there seems to be a mistake here. Most probably the grant of free warren of Edward I has been mistranscribed as of Edward III (although Hasted had mentioned this earlier). There remains a question as to if the original enrollment of this grant does include licence to crenellate not mentioned by the usually careful calendarists.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:19:31

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