New research has revealed fascinating facts about the history of Hever Castle and two of its royal owners – the Boleyns and Anne of Cleves.

The research, commissioned by the castle from architectural historian and former Chief Executive of English Heritage, Simon Thurley, has discovered Hever Castle was actually built in 1383 for John de Cobham – not in 1270 for William de Hever, as previously thought.

Simon has uncovered more about what Thomas and Elizabeth Boleyn’s Hever looked like and how they used the castle as a family. The research also reveals Anne of Cleves’ significant contribution to the castle after the lease was given to her as part of her divorce to Henry VIII. Previously it was believed that Thomas Boleyn added the Long Gallery, but Simon’s work has brought to light the fact that it was actually Anne of Cleves’ vision. Cleves also added the Staircase Gallery on the floor below, connecting the two wings of the house, and re-modelled the ceiling in the Great Hall.

Visitors to Hever Castle in 2023 will start to see changes in the configuration and displays in the building to reflect this new research. A publication detailing more about the research findings will also be available to buy.

PHOTO: Kate York

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