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Historic England Research Records

Hever Castle

Hob Uid: 407172
Location :
Kent
Sevenoaks
Hever
Grid Ref : TQ4782045200
Summary : Castle enclosed by a moat. The castle comprises a late 13th century/early 14th century keep, with licences to crenallate dated 1340 and 1384. Additions to the castle were made in 1462, circa 1500 and 1584. A restoration was carried out in the early 19th century. More additions were made in 1903-07. It has the oldest working original portcullis in England.
More information : (TQ 47824520) HEVER CASTLE (NR) MOAT (NR) Moat (NAT) (1)

It is reasonable to suppose that John de Cobham largely rebuilt Hever Castle when he obtained licence to crenellate it in 1384, although much of the outside walls seem to be earlier. Since then, the castle has often been altered and repaired, the most extensive additions taking place from 1903 onwards. (2,3)

Hever Castle was protected by a double moat fed by the River Eden and a small stream on the east. Much of the outer moat has been destroyed, but it is easy to trace the line it followed before being levelled. (4)

Hever Castle is as described above: it is in excellent condition. See GP'S AO/62/296/4-7. Open to the public on certain days.

The inner moat is waterfilled and in good condition. The outer moat has been largely remodelled into ornamental stretches of water and is probably nowhere in its original state. There are no traces remaining of the N arm.
Published survey 25" correct. (5)

Hever Castle. 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 bulding nearest to Castle, leads to covered bridge over moat.

Licence to crenellate Hever Castle was granted to Sir John de Cobham in 1384. The square, sandstone house standing within the moat is externally very little altered its orignal condition. In 1462 it was bought by Sir Geoffrey Bullen. The changes made by W.W. Astor in 1903 displayed Edwardian craftsmanship with extravagant panache, without damaging the medieval exterior.

Rectangular gatehouses on north and south side. The south gatehouse has no windows, however the north has C15-16th windows, mostly square headed, of one, two or three arched lights, with a hood-mould. The octagonal turret besides the hall window has three storeys of four light windows with the date 1584 in the top row. Tall brick 16th century chimneystacks. Rib vaulted entrance arch leading to small courtyard. The entrance arch and interior are mostly a product of the 1903-7 campaign. The panelling of the long gallery that runs above the hall and the whole length of the north front, was confirmed, no doubt c.1584, when the gables were put in to light it. Among the few genuine pieces of the interior, are the moulded beams in Henry VIII's room, the stone chimney piece with frontal caryatids in the morning room and the overmantel above it, dated 1603 from Sparrowe's House at Ipswich (TM 14 SE 47), a coarse overmantel in the withdrawing room, from a house in Devon, and in Viscount Rochford's room in the east range, the foreign looking wood reliefs with Genesis scenes over the fireplace. The tiny oratory off this room has especially exquisite woodwork and stained glass of the Trinity, the Virgin, and St John, 13th century, French. (Full architectural description).

TQ 478453. Hever Castle, Hever. Listed in the County Checklist of moated sites in Kent, December 1979. (6)

Hever Castle. The original building was a moated and fortified farmhouse, possessed by Sir William de Hever in 1274. About 1330 his descendent, also William, built the castle. (7)

Additional bibliography not consulted. (8)

Listed. (9)

Listed by Cathcart King. (10)

The gatehouse contains a single gunport. (11)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1936-7
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Country Life
Source details :
Page(s) : 522-35
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : (12 Oct 1907)
Source Number : 11
Source : Fort : the international journal of fortification and military architecture
Source details :
Page(s) : 83
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 4, 1977
Source Number : 3
Source : Country Life
Source details :
Page(s) : 558-66
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : (19-Oct-1907)
Source Number : 4
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Kent, volume one
Source details :
Page(s) : 430-31
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 ASP 21-DEC-62
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Moated Sites Research Group report
Source details :
Page(s) : 47
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 6, 1974
Source Number : 7
Source : Battle and District Historical Society transactions
Source details :
Page(s) : 22-23
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 13, 1963
Source Number : 8
Source : The Antiquary: a magazine devoted to the study of the past
Source details :
Page(s) : 121-25
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 3 1873
Source Number : 9
Source : Register of parks and gardens of special historic interest in England
Source details : Kent
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : Part 24
Source Number : 10
Source : Castellarium anglicanum : an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the islands. Volume I : Anglesey - Montgomery
Source details :
Page(s) : 231
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Extant 1247
Monument End Date : 1247
Monument Start Date : 1247
Monument Type : Fortified House
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Late C13/Early C14
Monument End Date : 1332
Monument Start Date : 1267
Monument Type : Castle, Moat, Keep
Evidence : Extant Building, Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Licenced to crenallate
Monument End Date : 1340
Monument Start Date : 1340
Monument Type : Castle
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Licenced to crenallate 1384
Monument End Date : 1384
Monument Start Date : 1384
Monument Type : Castle, Gatehouse, Portcullis, Loopholed Wall
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Additions of 1462
Monument End Date : 1462
Monument Start Date : 1462
Monument Type : Castle
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Additions of c1500
Monument End Date : 1510
Monument Start Date : 1490
Monument Type : Castle
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Additions of 1584
Monument End Date : 1584
Monument Start Date : 1584
Monument Type : Castle
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : early C19 restoration
Monument End Date : 1899
Monument Start Date : 1800
Monument Type : Castle
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : Additions 1903-07
Monument End Date : 1907
Monument Start Date : 1903
Monument Type : Castle
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 444816
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TQ 44 NE 2
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1567389
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 617279
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON TQ 44 NE 2
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1962-12-21
End Date : 1962-12-21