Great Halls – Feature Fridays

January 21 2022 | Castle History

The theme for this week’s #FeatureFridays with Historic Houses is Great Halls.

During the time of the Bullens (as the Boleyn family was originally known), the stunning Dining Room was known as the Great Hall.

Initially open to the roof rafters, in 1506 Thomas Bullen added a Long Gallery above it. The Bullen family would have dined in this room and entertained Henry VIII and his retinue here when he visited.

One of the impressive gilt locks on the doors in the Great Hall belonged to Henry VIII, whilst the other is a replica. Henry VIII was worried about assassination so, to ensure his safety when visiting other houses, he brought his personal locksmith to fix a special door lock to his bedchamber.

The panelling made for a previous tenant, Captain Guy Sebright, was replaced by owner William Waldorf Astor by a most elaborately carved oak screen and Minstrels Gallery. At the same time a magnificent carved ceiling was fitted, and an oak floor of random width boards was laid.

William Waldorf Astor restored and enhanced the hall by commissioning Nathaniel Hitch to install the linenfold panelling and elaborately carved Minstrels’ Gallery, which fittingly rests on a series of carved musicians. The impressive fireplace is of Clipsham stone from Rutland, and is surmounted by the Bullen coat of arms.

The Great Hall, with its beautiful table and chairs, is still used for weddings and celebrations.

The 24 walnut armchairs which are mid- 17th century style Flemish, were reupholstered in keeping with their original design in 2000. The chairs surround the 17-ft (5.2m) oak table, which dates from around 1600, although its top is a 20th century replacement.

The ornate carving at Hever is one of its greatest glories – from the simple to the elaborate, all the work has been executed by craftsmen who were masters of their art, whether in Tudor times or in the 20th century.

Why not hire the Dining Hall for your next private function?

If you enjoyed this item on Great Halls then why not discover the previous #FeatureFridays news items: