Boleyn – 15th and 16th centuries

Hever Castle first came into Boleyn ownership when it was bought by Geoffrey Boleyn in 1462. Geoffrey had made a successful career as Master of the Mercer’s Company and became Lord Mayor of London in c.1457. His son by his second wife was William Boleyn who inherited the Castle on the death of his father in 1463. William became a Baron of the Exchequer and the Duke of Norfolk’s deputy. He married Lady Margaret Butler, daughter and co-heiress of the Earl of Ormonde. Their son, Thomas, became Anne Boleyn’s father.

Thomas Boleyn married Elizabeth Howard, daughter of the 2nd Duke of Norfolk and had three surviving children: Mary, Anne (second wife of Henry VIII) and George. Upon Anne’s return from France in 1522 she joined Catherine of Aragon’s household but continued to visit Hever Castle regularly. In fact, seven of Henry VIII’s love letters were sent to Anne while she was residing at Hever in 1528. After Anne’s execution in 1536, her father Thomas continued to live at Hever until his death in 1539, leaving his elderly mother Margaret.  It appears that Thomas Boleyn’s brother, James, then inherited the Castle and sold it for £200 to the crown by indenture on 31st December 1540.


The Castle


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.


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.


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.