William de Hever is believed to be the first owner of Hever Castle. William was a descendant of a Norman baron who came to England during the Conquest and became Sheriff of Kent in 1272, the first year of Edward I’s reign.

Hever Castle first came into Boleyn ownership when it was bought by Geoffrey Boleyn in 1462. His son, Thomas, became Anne Boleyn’s father and Hever Castle became her childhood home and seven of Henry VIII’s love letters were sent to Anne while she was residing at Hever in 1528.

When Anne of Cleves died in 1557 the Hever estate reverted to the Crown. In that year Sir Edward Waldegrave, a member of Mary Tudor’s Council, had been appointed one of the Commissioners for the sale of Crown land and promptly assigned himself the Castle and estate.

Hever proved too small to match the growing status of Henry Waldegrave’s son, James and it was sold in 1715 to Sir William Humphreys. His son Orlando inherited his baronetcy and the Hever estate on the death of his father in 1735, there followed a series of tragedies.

Timothy Waldo purchased the Castle and 1300 acres in 1749. He was a wealthy lawyer and City merchant becoming Attorney of the King’s Bench, Solicitor in Chancery, and Liveryman and Clerk of the Salter’s Company. He was knighted in 1769.

William Waldorf Astor, the richest man in America, purchased Hever Castle in 1903. He grew increasingly disenchanted with America announcing that it was ‘no longer a fit place for a gentleman to live’ and in 1891 moved to England with a reputed $100 million. Between 1903 and 1908 Astor set about the restoration of the Castle, construction of the Astor Wing and creation of the lake and gardens.

The Castle


Discover the history of Hever Castle, its owners and inhabitants as you travel through time from its construction in 1270 to the present day.


Learn more about the Hever Castle coat of arms and the 4 families represented in it who helped to shape the estate we see today.


Uncover the history of the 13th century castle once the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, Anne of Cleves, Sir John Fastolf and William Waldorf Astor.

Guides & Tours

Bring 700 years of Hever Castle history to life with interactive audio guides, private guided tours, guide books and enjoyable trails to follow with young visitors.