The last full day of the upcoming September Quilt and Textile Tour is expected to be a grand finale for our two weeks in England and Wales. We will spend most of Sunday the 15th at Hever Castle south of London.
Hever Castle has a long and colorful history. It was begun in 1270 during the Norman period of castle building. In 1462 the castle passed to the Bullen (Boleyn) family. Thomas Boleyn inherited Hever in 1505 and lived there with his family including daughter Anne who later because the second wife of Henry VIII. The castle today displays several of Anne Boleyn’s personal possessions and reminders of her brief but very significant marriage to one of England’s most historic monarchs.
Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn
The moated castle passed through numerous ownerships and in 1903 was purchased and restored by the American millionaire William Waldorf Astor who used it as a family residence. Astor is responsible for many additions to the property and for the lovely formal Italianate gardens.
Scenes from the Italianate Garden
Moving from private ownership and the domain of a lived-in estate, the castle and properties were purchased in 1983 by Broadland Properties Limited. Many British privately-owned estate homes today are managed as businesses in order to generate funds for the astronomical cost of maintaining the property. Hever Castle now functions as a conference center and tourist and family activities attraction.
There is much to experience at Hever Castle: the historic interiors of the moated castle, vast acres of gardens, several restaurants, a collection of 1/12 scale model houses with gardens from medieval to Victorian periods, a yew maze, a water maze, and programmed special events. The annual events program includes: a dog show and dog weekend, jousting tournaments and archery displays, Christmas and Halloween activities, and the annual Patchwork and Quilting Show.
Our 2007 Magical English Garden tour visited Hever Castle on the Quilt Show weekend. This year the annual Patchwork and Quilting Exhibition will be part of the Country Life at the Castle Event running from September 13-15, 2013. Not only can we view quilts and quilt-related demonstrations, but there will also be demos and activities related to lace making, ceramics, woodworking, felt making, bee and hen keeping and more.
I loved seeing the quilts in 2007, and I especially enjoyed the vendor booths with items for sale, including some things not available in the US. Jan Allston, my special British quilting sister, tells me that this year’s show will be even better and is no longer “in the tent on the hill”. Jan is organizing an activity/event for our tour group of visiting quilters. I don’t know yet what it will be, so it’s a surprise for all of us. I love surprises.
Ah, Hever Castle – so much to see, do and enjoy. What a grand last chapter for our tour.
Photo credits: Hever Castle (top photo) copyright Peter Trimming and licensed for reuse by Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 license: Water maze at Hever Castle photo copyright Oast House Archives and licensed for reuse by Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 license. All other photos are public domain.