Originally a private retiring room in Tudor times, the Morning Room features stunning panelling and furnishings which date mainly from the 17th century. The initials H.W. are carved into the stone surrounds of the fireplace, representing previous Hever owner Henry Waldegrave.
During the reign of Elizabeth I the Catholic Waldegrave family made an interesting addition to this room: a ‘priest hole’ was incorporated into this corner of the Castle (where the china cupboard is now) in which a priest could hide. This was necessary as it was forbidden to say Mass, so the family would have been in danger if they were caught with a Catholic priest on the premises.
On display in the Morning Room are several items that may have been used or worked by ladies in the 18th and 19th centuries. These include a spinning wheel (c. 1800) made of cherry wood, with ivory finials and box wood and holly inlays, and a fruit wood wool winder (c. 1825).
There are also some fine examples of needlework, including a mahogany pole fire screen (c. 1725), decorated with a needlework panel in gros and petit point. Fire screens were used as protection from the direct heat of the fire and were very popular among ladies as they prevented their complexions from becoming flushed.
On the wall is a mirror which features needlework called stumpwork, depicting figures of Charles II and Catherine Braganza, as well as animals and insects, enriched with seed pearls and gold thread. It has an original walnut frame and the raised and padded style was very fashionable between the 1630s and the 1680s.
Three-legged chairs were popular in the 17th century as they offered more stability on the extremely uneven floors. The chairs in the Morning Room date from 1620, 1625 and 1700.
Read more about the history of Hever Castle.