While making coffee this morning, I grabbed a smallish bone china mug from the cupboard. One look at the Tudor cottages surrounded by gardens and I was transported back to Kent. During our trip to England, being the Tudorphiles that we are, we could not pass up the chance to see the birth place of Anne Boleyn. A small manor house in the countryside of Kent is where the famous, or infamous however you would like to see her, second wife of Henry the VIII grew up. Better known as Hever Castle, this idyllic spot turned out to be a full day of gardens, architecture, history, art and yes even a jousting contest.
With a small bit of research regarding the areas outside of London Brian and I were fixed on the idea of going for a day trip to the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. After a few attempts to find the right train schedule we were told that it was best to get off in Edenbridge as opposed to Hever due to the fact that Hever station had no facilities such as cabs or buses. When we arrived at Edenbridge we discovered that the same went for the Edenbridge station, quite remote. Fortunately we were within walking distance of a local store and the owner was more than happy to call a cab for us. We were picked up by a delightful man named William who owned his cab and lived nearby. William was kind enough to set a time to pick us up after we had finished for the day and transport us back to the Edenbridge station in time for our train back to London.
When we arrived at the property we were delighted to find extensive gardens and constructed walls, follies of ancient Greek arches, and a lake where boats could be hired for a small fee.
There was a two mile loop walking path through the more remote areas of the 125 acres of land that are part of Hever. As we walked the well groomed and quiet grounds, I imagined Queen Anne as a girl playing in these very woods. There was also a very extensive rose garden featuring the Hever Rose a hybridized Floribunda created just for the gardens at the castle.
Henry and Queen Anne themselves were at hand !
We enjoyed a jousting contest with full regalia.
This is a portrait of adolescent Queen Elizabeth the 1st, one of the many medival portraits found on the property.
We truly enjoyed our day of stepping back in time, our walks in the woods, the jousting match, the tour of Hever Castle. We even saw Anne Boleyn's book of hours, a personal hand written and decorated book of prayers that all decent medieval young ladies possessed, she had this with her in the Tower before she died and you could see the messages she had written on the edges of the pages. As we drove away it occured to me she left all this beauty, enticed by grandeur, and prestige to end up on the block and ultimately in a hole in the church floor at St Peter ad Vincula. Anne you should have stayed on the farm !!