Meade Waldo – 19th and 20th centuries

In 1830 Edmund Wakefield Meade, connected to the Waldos by marriage, had taken the additional name of Waldo. He inherited the Castle in 1841 but had no love for Hever. He lived in the north of England until buying and restoring Stonewall Park, three miles from the Castle. Hever became a working farm, being leased out to a series of tenant farmers. 

The last tenants of the Castle were Captain Guy Thomas Saunders Sebright and his wife Olive who leased it in 1895 from Edmund Waldo, the son of Edmund Wakefield Meade Waldo. He was succeeded by his son, Edmund Gustavus Bloomfield Meade Waldo, the famous ornithologist. His wife, Ada Coralie, believed the Castle was haunted and complained that Anne Boleyn’s ghost made it unpleasant for her. At this time the Castle was uninhabitable: the roof leaked and damp seeped up from the moat. However, Captain Sebright saw beyond the problems and lovingly set about its restoration with a view to buying it from Meade Waldo. Sebright never completed his work for, to his fury, Meade Waldo chose to sell the Castle in 1903 to the wealthy American, William Waldorf Astor.


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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.