Anne of Cleves – 16th century


In 1540 Henry VIII married his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. Henry’s decision to marry Anne was based on a portrait miniature painted by Hans Holbein. The marriage was made for political reasons but ended in divorce six months later. Henry VIII awarded her the honorary title of ‘The King’s Sister’, £500 a year, a sufficient household and two houses. In addition, he allowed her to lease a number of manors to enhance her status and income, including Hever, at an annual rent of £9-13s-3½d. Anne settled happily in England and became good friends of the King and Anne Boleyn’s daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth I. 

Anne owned Hever Castle until her death in 1557 but it is not known how much time she spent at the Castle. However, there is a surviving letter written by Anne to Mary Tudor in 1554 signed ‘from my poore house of Hever’.

Cleves

Learn about the rare wooden panel from a former home of Anne of Cleves that can be found at Hever Castle.

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The Castle

History

The original medieval defensive castle with its gatehouse and walled bailey was built in 1270. In the 15th and 16th centuries the Bolyens added the Tudor dwelling within the walls. The Castle was then owned by a number of families before William Waldorf Astor invested time, money and imagination in restoring the Castle, building the ’Tudor Village’ and creating the gardens and lake.

Heraldry

The coats of arms in the stained glass in the Long Gallery of the Castle commemorate the different residents of Hever Castle since it was built including: Anne of Cleves, William de Hever, Anne Boleyn and Sir John Fastolf. Learn more about the symbolism behind these designs.

Timelines

Discover the history of Hever Castle, its owners and inhabitants as you travel through time from its construction in 1270 to the present day. These easy-to-use timelines enable you to learn more about key events and how the past owners have shaped the estate we see today.

Tours & Trails

Bring 700 years of Hever Castle history to life with one of the following: an audio guide, a private guided tour or purchase a guide book from the Hever Shop when you visit. Enjoyable trails to follow with young visitors to the castle can also be downloaded.

Owners