Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Day Three: Hever Castle

CORRECTION!!!  I have just realized that Hever Castle was not the first place we visited on Day Three.  We first went to Winston Churchill's home, Chartwell.  But since I have already finished the writing about Hever Castle...I will do the Chartwell visit next.  I am just too lazy right now to write another post.

Day three:  This is the day we board the bus (coach) and begin our travels around England and a little bit of Scotland.  Our first stop is Hever Castle.  We left our packed bags in our rooms, ate our English Full Breakfast, and filed into the coach.  We found seats near the back.  Stephanie and Bruce  sat across from us.  During the trip we rotated seats each morning so that we ended up sitting in a variety of places throughout the trip.
I got this picture from on line: Essentially-England.com

This was the second time I had been to Hever Castle.  The first was when my sister, Linda, mother, Maxine and I came to visit my niece, Maggie while she was taking classes for a semester in London.
Linda is our genealogist and had traced our family back to John Cobham...our great, great....grandfather.  Not sure how many greats...but a lot.  Linda knows...so I will check with her.  Anyway...John Cobham had been the sheriff of Kent and lived in this castle and was buried in the nave of St. Peter's Church which is outside the grounds.  He sold this castle to the Boleyn family, so it has some interesting history to it.  They built on to make it a much larger castle.  This is where Anne Boleyn's family lived and Henry the VIII visited there many times.

 Linda, Maxine, Maggie and I decided to take the train from London and take the 'short' walk to the castle.  This was in 2002...Maxine was almost 83 years old, and beginning the signs of macular degeneration...but was determined to visit the castle.  We took the train to Edenbridge station, asked directions (just down the road a short distance), and began walking.   After an hour I began to wonder if this whole trek would be worth it.  I remembered driving and hiking miles in western USA to visit ghosts towns....only to find a shell of one building.  Was this going to happen to us in England?  Was Hever Castle going to be a lonely shell of a building?  We had been walking this narrow road in farm country with lots of sheep, but not many buildings.

We talked about turning back, but the thought of walking another hour without seeing the castle made us continue.  The terrain was hilly and we decided to walk up the next hill. It felt like the "Twilight Zone" in that we had seen very few cars during our walk...and no signs that there was any tourist attraction nearby.  As we walked over the crest of the hill we saw it...Hever Castle!  The parking lot was full of busses and cars...like an oasis in the fields of sheep.

Hever Castle from a Distance

I told that little story because I was amazed that Maxine, at almost 83 walked the three miles and then continued to tour the whole castle.  She was not about to miss any part of this trip.

Back to my tour with Ray, Stephanie and Bruce.  We did not have to hike the distance as I had before.  Our coach took us right to the parking lot.  The day was sunny with a bright blue sky.  The walkway to the castle was lined with topiaries.    

Walkway to Hever Castle

   The castle was full of Henry the VIII information.  We could take the narrow winding stairways to different levels.  The last room was near the top and where we found artifacts from the time of John Cobham.  I was prepared for this room as we were a bit taken aback when we first saw it in 2002.  The room was full of all types of equipment and devices that  a sheriff would have and or used.  It was all quite morbid with weapons and a variety of torture items.

It was a bit disappointing to think that an ancestor of ours could be part of torture and death.  But he did quit being a sheriff and opened a school....later buried at St. Peter's Church...so I hope the end of his life was spent helping people. 

St. Peter's Church where John Cobham is buried.

Looks like I slipped back to my trip in 2002.  I will let these pictures (We could not take pictures inside) tell the rest of the 2013 trip to Hever Castle.  It was not the largest or most impressive of the castles we saw during this tour...but Hever Castle is my favorite because of my small connection with it...and the memories it brings of how after walking three miles my mother toured the whole castle...even up the narrow stairs to the 'torture room' and throughout the gardens outside.

Moat at Hever Castle

This gate looks like something from the John Cobham time. :-)

Courtyard at Hever Castle

This is where Henry the VIII slept while at Hever Castle
Moat around Hever Castle

Here I am standing in front of our ancestor's home. :-)

Video of St. Peter's Church
Video of walk up to Hever Castle
Video of Hever Castle and Moat


  1. How interesting that you had a connection to this castle! I love the topiaries, that takes a lot of skill to create. I'm looking forward to reading more of this trip.

  2. What a fabulous tour! We visited Hever Castle years ago - but the topiaries and courtyard have stayed fresh in my memories. Such beautiful countryside, too.