Fastolf – 15th century

On the death of Sir Stephen Scrope in 1408 the Hever estate was released to his widow Millicent and her new husband Sir John Fastolf. Sir Stephen’s son, also Stephen, became the ward of Fastolf meaning that he was legally under the care of his stepfather. Fastolf enjoyed Stephen’s inheritance for 51 years before he died in 1459.

Fastolf was a soldier during the Hundred Years War but has enjoyed a lasting reputation as ‘Falstaff’ in Shakespeare’s Henry IV Parts I and II and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Fastolf was a demanding and irritable man. One of his servants wrote: “cruel and vengible he hath been ever, and for the most part without pity and mercy”. It appears that he also treated his stepson in this way. In 1421 Stephen came of age but was not allowed his inheritance so joined the French wars under the banner of Duke Humphrey of Gloucester to seek freedom from his stepfather. However, he was persuaded by his mother to join Fastolf’s service in France as his secretary and Hever Castle was sold to obtain funds for the campaigns.


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.