A Visit to Hever Castle … Hever, Kent, England

Pretty Hever Castle in Kent has a storied past. The childhood home of Anne Boleyn, it was here that King Henry VIII courted her and it was here her family lived when she met her unfortunate and untimely demise.

The castle was given to Anne of Cleves, King Henry’s fourth wife, after she fell out of favour and he divorced her (lucky girl), and after her death the castle met with a succession of owners who cared for it, or not.

William Waldorf Astor purchased the castle in 1903, restored it and lived there for a number of years. Heavy flooding caused serious damage in 1968 and eventually the castle was sold and restored as a heritage site. It’s been open to the public since 1983.

I’ve visited Hever a couple of times, most recently last September. To me it is a romantic place. Tudor history has always fascinated me, and to walk where colourful historical characters of the time have walked does, in some way, bring their stories more to life in my mind. As well, whenever I visit medieval castles I’m always surprised at how small the doorways and narrow the spiral staircases in the towers. At just under 5ft 8″ myself I feel like a giant in such close confines and am prone to claustrophobia. I have to chew gum, or something, to distract myself from having a panic attack. 😉

Currently I’m reading Queen of the Realm ~ a fictionalized account of Elizabeth I by historical novelist, Jean Plaidy. Her mother was Anne Boleyn, of course, so Hever Castle has been somewhat in my thoughts of late.

This silly little rhyme formed itself as we were visiting this beautiful castle. Funny where the mind goes.

~*~

Not so happy, was the bride

A daughter of the Boleyn tribe.

As Henry’s lust to Jane was lead

Poor Anne was doomed to lose her head.

~*~

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy 🙂

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

The Castle and the Brewery … Kilkenny, Ireland

“To understand Kilkenny’s unique character one should retire from the busy streets to the lovely Castle Park and, standing within the shadow of the ancient pile, contemplate the great jumble of roof-tops, old and young, which tumble down to the quiet-flowing river beneath. Here dove-grey spires and battlemented towers proclaim a city old in Christian living and wise in human experience. One can feel the heartbeat of an ancient civilised community.”

Katherine M Lanigan, Gerald Tyler (Eds), ‘Kilkenny, Its Architecture & History’,
Appletree Press 1977.

During our wonderful trip to Ireland in spring 2011, we had the pleasure of staying overnight in the ancient town of Kilkenny.

Like most Irish communities, it’s been experiencing tough economic times as evidenced by boarded up businesses in the town’s centre.

Still, its historic essence is intact, so it was satisfying to take a gentle stroll along the River Nore, amble over the fields of Kilkenny Castle, contribute to the local economy by gift shopping in the old converted castle stable complex, and soak in the town’s storied religious and political past.

A prominent landmark located on the site of an old abbey by the river and just up the way from the castle is Smithwick’s Brewery. We happened upon it during our wanderings, and the sun just happened to be shining, between rain showers, at the right angle for me to be able to capture this image.

Somehow, to me, nothing says “Welcome” quite like a red door.

Even though I’m not much of a beer drinker, I’m always in for some history. Unfortunately a tour of the brewery wasn’t possible as we were there at the wrong time of day.

While we were in town we also visited two beautiful churches, but that’s a story for another day.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

Copyright Aimwell Enterprises 2012