The Boleyn Lineage – An easy overview on Where the Boleyn descendants are today

The Boleyn Lineage – An easy overview on Where the Boleyn descendants are today

What to expect from this article on the Boleyn lineage

This article is an overview of what I now know about the Boleyn lineage in relation to the present royal family. As it is an overview, I have eliminated historical details to keep it simple but have included basic information to keep the subject matter in context. This helps us see how the Boleyn lineage had flowed through the centuries.

In this article, I have included a section on the numerous variations and the much debated spelling of the Boleyn family name, and why I opted for ‘Boleyn’ instead of other variations. Along with this, is a recap of who the Boleyn family were in history, although there is no consensus on the origin of the Boleyn family.

Links to resources are appended at the end of the article.

boleyn lineage

What was the Boleyn real surname – Boleyn, Bullen, Bolan or something else?

the Boleyn lineage

Variations of the surname ‘Boleyn’

In 1509, during the funeral of Henry VII, “Bolan” was used to address Sir Thomas. In the very same year of 1509, an invite to Sir Thomas and his wife Elizabeth, for the coronation of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon reads “Boleyne” and “Bolen” respectively. Sir Thomas’ brother, James went by his surname spelt as “Bulleyn”. In fact, Anne Boleyn herself, signed off as “Anna de Boullan’ in a letter she wrote to her father in 1513 when she lived in Austria.

These variations and more of the surname ‘Boleyn’ existed during the Tudor period. The primary reason cited for the variations in the spelling of the surname is the inconsistencies of Tudor words and spellings. Having said that, the inconsistencies also existed way back in the thirteenth century.

In a research carried out by Rev. Canon Parsons, who authored “Some notes on the Boleyn Family” in 1935 concluded that whilst the surname was spelt in various ways: “…Boleyn, Buleyn, Bolen, Bulleyne, Boleyne, Bolleyne, Boyleyn, Bowleyne, Bulloigne, and the modern form Bullen” , the spelling, “Boleyn” was the most common of the medieval forms.”

Popular and accepted spelling of the surname ‘Boleyn’

Therefore, given the variations and the non-standardised spelling of the surname, along with the popular acceptance by historians and writers of the surname spelt as “Boleyn”, I shall also accept this and use this spelling in my articles on the Boleyn lineage and related articles on the Boleyns.

Note: The city of Boulogne in France was written as “Boleyn” in the Chronicles of Calais. There are also other documents that refer to Boulogne as Boleyn. Historians belief that the Boleyn family originated from here and made their way to Norfolk during the Normans invasion in the 11th century. This opens up a whole new world of discovery for me, and I hope one day, will be able to investigate further.

A recap of earlier history of the Boleyn family

The earliest recorded history of the Boleyn family in England begins in the thirteenth century and surrounds humble beginnings.

There are mentions of a John Boleyn acting as surety for a William Boleyn in the local register of Walsingham Abbey, Norfolk in 1283.

According to wikitree geneology on the Boleyn family, one Ralph Boleyn was born roundabout 1260 in England. He had one child, John Boleyn, born around 1300. John Boleyn had one child, Thomas Boleyn, born around 1350. There are no records of the spouses to Ralph and John Boleyn.

Thomas Boleyn was a farmer in Salle, Norfolk. There are some mentions of him having descended from Nicholas Boleyn but I could not find information on Nicholas Boleyn to confirm.

Where do we begin…

Therefore, it is with Thomas Boleyn, born roundabouts 1350 where we will begin to trace the Boleyn lineage in this article.

To reiterate, this article on the Boleyn Lineage is intended as an overview. I have not included details of events and background information but have provided recommended reads and links.

Follow the highlights in red…

The Boleyn Lineage – from 1300s to 1603

Thomas Boleyn, [(1350 – 1411) farmer, Salle, Norfolk] mar. Jane (Bracton) Boleyn [(1359 – ?) daughter of Sir John Bracton, Salle, Norfolk] 1 child: Geoffrey Boleyn (1380)

Geoffrey Boleyn [(1380 – Mar 25 1440) Blickling, Norfolk, England] mar. Alice (Bracton) Boleyn [(1385 – 1440) Salle, Norfolk, England 3 children: Thomas Boleyn (1403 – 1472); Geoffrey Boleyn (1406 – 1463); Cecily Boleyn (1408 – 1458)

Geoffrey Boleyn [b.1406, Norfolk England – d.1463, City of London] – also known as Sir Geoffrey Boleyn or Bullen, a successful merchant in the City of London mar. Anne (Hoo) Boleyn [(1425 – Jun 6, 1485) Norfolk, England

8 Children:

Alicia (Boleyn) Aucher; Alice (Boleyn) Fortescue; Cecily Boleyn; Thomas Boleyn; Simon Boleyn; William Boleyn KB; Anne (Boleyn) Heydon and Isabel (Boleyn) Cheyne.

William Boleyn KB [(b.1449, Blickling Norfolk – Oct 10, 1505 Hever Kent, England)] mar. Margaret (Butler) Boleyn [b.1454 in Ormonde, Kerry, Ireland – d. Apr 3, 1537 in Hever, Kent, England]

10 children:

Anne Boleyn; Anthony Boleyn; Thomas Boleyn KG; Anne (Boleyn) Shelton; James Boleyn Kt; Edward Boleyn Kt; Amata (Boleyn) Calthorpe; Alice (Boleyn) Clere; William Boleyn; Margaret (Boleyn) Sackville.

*William Boleyn was appointed a Knight of the Bath by King Richard III

Thomas Boleyn KG [b. 1477 in Blickling, Norfolk, England – d. Mar 12, 1539 in Hever Castle, Kent England also known as Sir Thomas, 1st Earl of Wiltshire mar. Elizabeth (Howard) Boleyn [b. 1480 Norfolk, England – d. Apr 3, 1537]

3 surviving children:

Mary (Boleyn) Stafford; Anne, Queen of England; George Boleyn.

Anne Boleyn [b. 1501 in Blickling Hall, Blickling, Norfolk, England – d.May 19, 1536 in Tower of London, England. Also known as Anne “Queen of England” Boleyn or Bullen mar. Henry (Tudor) of England

1 child: Elizabeth I;

Are there any direct descendants of Anne Boleyn?

Anne Boleyn is known to have one spouse, Henry Tudor of England. They had one child who survived infancy. Elizabeth, was born on September 7, 1533. Queen Anne fell pregnant in 1934 and 1536 but both were stillborn. Therefore, Elizabeth was the only child of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.

Queen Elizabeth I | The Boleyn Lineage
Queen Elizabeth I | Image: © royal.uk

Elizabeth succeeded to the throne in November 1558 when her half-sister, Mary Tudor (1516 – 1558) died and became Elizabeth Tudor England. She was Queen of England and Ireland from September 17, 1558 until March 24, 1603 when she died. Queen Elizabeth was a popular queen and her 45-year reign is said to be one of the best in history. She is sometimes called the Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess. Queen Elizabeth never married, hence the nickname, the ‘Virgin Queen’. She was the last of the five monarchs of the House of Tudor, and with no heir to the throne, effectively ending the Tudor reign. This also means that there are no direct descendants of Anne Boleyn.

The Boleyn Lineage – Coat of Arms of the Boleyn Family

The Boleyn Family | Coats of Arms | The Boleyn Lineage

Three bulls heads on a white field.

Place and Country of origin: Norfolk, England.

Founded: 1283

Founder: John Boleyn

Final head: Thomas Boleyn – Marchioness of Pembroke;

-Earl of Wiltshire;

-Earl of Ormond;

-Viscount Rochford.

Dissolution: 1539


The Boleyn Lineage – after Anne Boleyn – from 1536 to present day, 2021

As we know there are no direct descendants of Anne Boleyn. However, research has shown that the Boleyn lineage can be traced to the present day royal family. Whilst this article is not designed to trace the wider lineage of the Boleyn family, it will give you an overview of how the present day royal family is connected to the Boleyn family.

For ease of understanding, we shall return to Anne Boleyn’s family and begin the Boleyn lineage from one of Thomas Boleyn’s children.

We know that Anne Boleyn was one of three siblings born to Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire and Elizabeth (Howard) Boleyn. Anne’s older sibling was Mary Boleyn (mistress to Henry VIII for some time) and her younger sibling, George Boleyn (who was executed on May 17, 1536, 2 days before Anne Boleyn’s execution). There are no other surviving children of Thomas Boleyn. This means Mary Boleyn was the only survivor of the Thomas Boleyn’s children.

Recommended read: Anne Boleyn – The most magnetic and enduring of Tudor Queens.

Follow the highlighted trail from Mary (Boleyn) Stafford, the older sibling to Anne and see where it leads…

Thomas Boleyn KG [b. 1477 in Blickling, Norfolk, England – d. Mar 12, 1539 in Hever Castle, Kent England also known as Sir Thomas, 1st Earl of Wiltshire mar. Elizabeth (Howard) Boleyn [b. 1480 Norfolk, England – d. Apr 3, 1537]

3 surviving children:

Mary (Boleyn) Stafford; Anne, Queen of England; George Boleyn.

Mary (Boleyn) Stafford also known as Carey. [b.1499 in Blickling, Norfolk, England – d. July 19, 1543 in Chilton Folis, Wiltshire, England.

Mary married Sir William Carey [on Feb 4, 1521 in Greenwich, London.

2 children:

Catherine Carey – Lady Knollys; Henry Carey – 1st Baron Hunsdon;

About Mary (Boleyn) (Carey) Stafford:

*Mary was a mistress to Henry VIII for some time and some believe that Catherine Carey and Henry Carey were Henry VIII’s children.

*William Carey died of sweating sickness on June 23, 1528 leaving Mary a widow with two young children.

In 1534, Mary fell in love with William Stafford KB and they married in secret, without the approval of the King or her father, Thomas Boleyn. As a result, Mary was banished from the royal court and fell into disfavour.

Mary and William Stafford had 2 children: Edward Stafford (1535 – 1545) and Anne Stafford (1536-?)

Mary did reconcile with her father who allowed her to live at Rochford Hall, Essex.

The Boleyn Lineage – Catherine Carey

Follow the highlighted names from Catherine Carey’s daughter, Lettice Knollys and see where it leads…

Catherine (Carey) Knollys, later Lady Knollys (b. 1524 – d. January 15, 1569), first cousin to Queen Elizabeth I mar. Sir Francis Knollys

15 children:

Henry (1541); Mary (1542); Lettice (1543); William (1545); Edward (1546); Maud (1548); Elizabeth (1549); Robert (1550); Richard (1552); Francis (1553); Ann (1554); a child unbaptised (1557); Thomas (1558); Catherine (1559); Dudley (1562).

Lettice Knollys (b.1543 – d.1634)

Wife of Walter Deveraux, 1st Earl of Essex (b. Sept 16, 1539 – d. Sept 22 1576);

Wife of Robert Dudley MP (b.Jun 24, 1532 – d. Sept 4, 1588);

Wife of Christopher Blount MP (b. 1565 – d. Mar 18, 1601);

Mother to > Penelope (Deveraux) Blount (b.Jan 1563 – d. Jul 7 1607); Dorothy (Deveraux) Percy (b. 1564 – d. Aug 3, 1619); Robert Deveraux KG (Nov 10, 1566 – Feb 25, 1601); Walter (Deveraux) le Deveraux (b. 1570 – d. 1591); Robert Dudley (b. Jun 6, 1581 – d. 1584)

Robert Devereux KG, 2nd Earl of Essex (Nov 10, 1566 – Feb 25, 1601); mar. Frances Walsingham

Children: 2

Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex (b.Jan 22 1591 – d. Sept 14, 1646); Lady Frances Devereux (b. Sept 20 1599 – d. Nov 23 1679)

Lady Frances Devereux (b. Sept 20 1599 – d. Nov 23 1679) mar. William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset, 3rd Earl of Hertford

Children: 8

William Seymour (b.1621 – d. Jun 16 1642); Robert Seymour (b. 1622 – d. 1645/46); Henry Seymour, Baron Beauchamp of Hache (b.1626 – d. Mar 30 1654); Lady Mary Seymour (b. 1637 – d. Apr 10 1673); Jane Seymour (b. 1637 – d. Nov 1679); Frances Seymour (b. 1642 – ?); John Seymour, 4th Duke of Somerset (b. 1646 – d. Apr 29 1675) .

Jane Seymour (b. 1637 – d. Nov 1679);

Wife of: Charles Boyle, 3rd Viscount of Dungarven;

Wife of: William James Edwards II

Mother of: Arabella (Boyle) Petty; Richard Boyle; Henry Boyle; Elizabeth (Boyle) Barry; Mary (Boyle) Douglas; Charles Boyle, 2nd Earl of Burlington; Robert Edwards Sr.

Charles Boyle, 2nd Earl of Burlington (1673 – 1703); mar. Juliana (Noel) Boyle

Children: 4

Juliana (Boyle) Bruce; Elizabeth (Boyle) Bedingfeld; Richard Boyle 3rd Earl of Burlington; Henrietta Boyle

Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington (1695 – 1753) mar. Dorothy Savile

Children: 3

Dorothy Boyle; Juliana Boyle; Charlotte Elizabeth Boyle.

Charlotte Elizabeth (Boyle) Cavendish (Oct 1731 – December 1754) mar. William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire

Children: 4

William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire; Dorothy Cavendish; George Augustus Henry Cavendish, 1st Earl of Burlington;

From 1750s – 1900s

Dorothy (Cavendish) Cavendish-Bentinck (Aug 1750 – Jun 1794) mar. William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland

Children: 6

William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, Duke of Portland; Lord William Cavendish Bentinck; Charlotte Cavendish Bentinck; Mary Bentinck; William Charles Augustus Bentinck; Frederick Cavendish Bentinck

William Charles Augustus Bentinck, Lord Cavendish Lieutenant Colonel ;

Husband of: Georgiana Augusta Frederica (Seymour) Cavendish-Bentinck

1 child:

Georgiana Augusta Frederica Henrietta Cavendish-Bentinck

Husband of: Anne (Wellesley) Cavendish-Bentinck

Children: 4

Anne Hyacinthe Cavendish-Bentinck; Charles William Frederick Cavendish-Bentinck; Arthur Cavendish-Bentinck; Emily (Cavendish-Bentinck) Hopwood

Charles William Frederick Cavendish-Bentinck aka Rev. Charles William Cavendish-Bentinck (Nov 1817 – Aug 1865) mar. Carolina Louis Burnaby

Children: 3 daughters:

Nina Cecilia Cavendish-Bentinck; Anne Violet Cavendish-Bentinck twin with Hyacinth Cavendish-Bentinck

Nina Cecilia (Cavendish-Bentinck) Bowes-Lyon (Sept 1862 – Jun 1938; mar. Claude George Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne

Children: 10

Violet Hyacinth Bowes-Lyon; Mary Frances (Bowes-Lyon) Elphinstone; Patrick Bowes-Lyon; John Herbert Bowes-Lyon; Alexander Francis Bowes-Lyon; Fergus Bowes-Lyon; Rose Constance (Bowes-Lyon) Leveson-Gower; Michael Claude Hamilton Bowes-Lyon JP, VLL; Elizabeth Angela Marguerite (Bowes-Lyon) Windsor; David Bowes-Lyon KCVO

The Boleyn Lineage – Mary Boleyn > Catherine Carey > House of Windsor

Elizabeth Angela Marguerite (Bowes-Lyon) Windsor, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (Aug 1900 – Mar 2002) mar. Albert Frederick Arthur George Windsor, King George VI

Children: 2

Queen Elizabeth II Windsor; Margaret Rose (Windsor) Snowdon

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Windsor (b. Apr 1926) mar. Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (Jun 1921 – Apr 2021)

Children: 4

Prince Charles (Windsor) Mountbatten-Windsor KG; Anne (Windsor) Laurence; Prince Andrew (Windsor) Mountbatten-Windsor; Prince Edward (Windsor) Mountbatten-Windsor

Conclusion on the Boleyn Lineage

There you have it – the Queen Mother and HM Queen Elizabeth II are the direct descendants of Mary Boleyn. You may also wish to know that not only the young royals, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex are direct descendants of Mary Boleyn through Prince Charles, they are also descendants of Henry Carey (son of Mary Boleyn) on the Spencer side of the family, their mother Diana, Princess of Wales (July 1961 – Aug 1997).

Recommended read

To add value to our travels and on the Boleyn trail, you may wish to read the following articles also:

1 | Tower of London – The Best Guide to What you need to know before your visit

As the title of the article suggests, this is the best guide – it has all the information from its very beginning in the 11th century to present day. Visit the places where prisoners were once tortured, the spot where Anne Boleyn was executed, the Church which was Anne Boleyn’s resting place after her execution and the lasting memorial on Tower Green.

Read: Tower of London – The Best Guide to What you need to know before your visit

Read: 7 Best Ways to Visit the Tower of London

i | Admission tickets to the Tower includes admission to see the Crown Jewels.

ii | Admission to the Tower of London is Free as it is included in the value for money London Pass

2 | Hever Castle, Kent, England

Visit the magnificent Hever Castle in Kent, England which was Anne Boleyn’s childhood home. Learn of its history that spans 700 years, the incredible architecture and the beautiful gardens that surrounds the castle. There are two prayer books on display, belonging to Anne Boleyn that bears her signature.

For a complete guide including how to stay at the castle, read: The Magnificent Hever Castle – Anne Boleyn’s Childhood Home

3 | Blickling Hall, Norfolk

Visit Blickling Hall, a stately home in Norfolk, England which was the former home of the Boleyns and the birth place of the Anne Boleyn.

Read: Ghosts of Blickling Hall, Norfolk

the boleyn lineage

Articles and resources on British History

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Anne Boleyn Britain's most well travelled ghosts
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Forgotten stories of 3 royal prisoners at queen's house
Books on Prisoners of the Bloody Tower
Interesting books on the Boleyns

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Resources on the Boleyn Lineage

Recommended books on the Boleyns

Interesting books on the Boleyns

Television documentary – if you wish to watch it

The Boleyns – A Scandalous Family

Thanks to a fellow blogger who kindly wrote in on this documentary after reading my previous article on the Boleyn family.

Notes by The Rev. Canon W. L. E. Parsons, Rector of Salle, in Norfolk Archaeology or Miscellaneous Tracts relating to the Antiquities of the County of Norfolk, Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society, Vol. XXV, 1935, p386-407

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 4 Part 1: Henry VIII, 1529-1530 (1879)

wikitree.com/geneology/boleyn

Anne Boleyn, A Chapter of English history, 1527-1536, Paul Friedmann

[Anne Boleyn; a Chapter of English History. 1527-1536; Volume 2]

EJ. Chapuis to Charles V., December 31, 1530, Vienna Archires, P.C. 226, i. fol. 109 , quoted in Friedmann

The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn, Eric Ives


The Boleyn Lineage – An easy overview on Where the Boleyn descendants are today first published at timelesstravelsteps.com in September 2021

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Here is a simple guide as to how the present royal family are the direct descendants of the Boleyn. via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/Here is a simple guide as to how the present royal family are the direct descendants of the Boleyn. via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/

Ghosts of Blickling Hall Norfolk

Ghosts of Blickling Hall Norfolk

A stately home, Blickling Hall forms part of the Blickling Estate in the village of Blickling, in Norfolk. The current Jacobean house, Blickling Hall was built on the ruins of a manor house, former home of the Boleyns and birth place of Anne Boleyn. Cared for by the National Trust since 1940, Blickling Hall is a popular destination throughout the year. It is more popular around May 19 each year as visitors try to get glimpses at the ghosts of Blickling Hall.

Anne Boleyn: Biography

Born: c1501 | Blickling Castle, Norfolk

Died: May 19 1536, Tower Green, Tower of London | Executed

Reigned: June 1533 – May 1536

Coronation: June 1 1533

Parents: Sir Thomas Boleyn and his wife, Elizabeth Howard, daughter of Duke of Norfolk

Spouse: Henry VIII

Children: Elizabeth I

Succeeded by: Jane Seymour, Henry VIII’s third wife

Ghosts of Blickling Hall Norfolk

Blickling Hall is said to be haunted by Britain’s most famous ghost – Anne Boleyn. Each year on the anniversary of her execution, May 19, she is reportedly seen arriving by coach drawn by headless horseman and four headless horses. Dressed in all white, she carries her severed head and glides the rooms and corridors until daybreak.

Sightings of Anne and the carriage have been frequent and reported by witnesses giving it some degree of credibility. In 1979, an apparition, supposedly of Anne was sighted in the library.

Another reported sighting of a ghostly inhabitant of Bickling Hall is Thomas Boleyn, Anne’s father. Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire was an ambitious man who engineered the marriage of his daughter, Anne Boleyn to King Henry VIII. He also betrayed Anne and his son George at the trial of Anne to save himself. Anne and George were executed. Folklore has it that for his wrong doings and as penance, he is required to cross a dozen bridges before cockcrows for a thousand years. His route is from Blickling>Aylsham>Burg>Buxton Coltishall>Meyton>Oxnead and finally to Wroxham.

Thomas Boleyn is reportedly seen carrying his severed head under his arms, and gushing flame from his mouth. (There is a flaw in this tale, as Thomas Boleyn died in his bed, with his head intact!)

Headless apparitions of the Boleyns are not the only ghosts of Blickling Hall. This magnificent mansion is said to be haunted by Sir John Fastolfe, the fifteenth century knight. He is seen throughout the building.

A ‘Grey Lady’ has also been reportedly seen floating through walls.

A little background to Blickling Estate, Norfolk

Ghosts of Blickling Hall Norfolk
Blickling Hall, Norfolk | Wikimedia

Blickling Estate was originally owned by Sir John Fastolf of Caister between 1380 and 1459. He made a fortune during the Hundred Years’ War. His coat of arms is still on display here.

Later, the property became home to the Boleyns, Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire and his wife, Elizabeth Howard, daughter to Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey between 1499 and 1505. Three of their surviving children were born at Blickling – Mary, Anne and George.

Blickling Estate was purchased by Sir Henry Hobart, Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas and 1st Baronet from Robert Clere in 1616. He commissioned Robert Lyminge, the architect to design the current Jacobean structure. The Blickling Hall seen today was built on the ruins of the manor house owned by the Boleyns.

The property stayed in the Hobart’s family until it was passed down to William Kerr, the 8th Marquess of Lothian.

During the Second World War, the house was requisitioned and served as the Officers Mess of the RAF Oulton. Afterwards, the house and the entire Blickling Estate was passed to the National Trust.

The house was de-requisitioned after the war and the National Trust rented it out to tenants until 1960. The Trust began working on the property to restore it to its historical style and beauty. The house, Blickling Hall, Gardens and Park was opened to the public in 1962 and has continued to be cared for by the National Trust and remains open the same to this day.

How to visit Blickling Hall, Blickling Estate, Norfolk

blickling.estate.nationaltrust | Ghosts of Blickling Hall Norfolk
Blickling Estate | National Trust

Blickling Hall, Gardens and Parkland that forms Blickling Estate is cared for by the National Trust. It is said that one day at the Estate is never enough! Nevertheless, if one day is all you have, then a visit will not disappoint as the Blickling Estate has something for everyone.

The Gardens and Park are open throughout all seasons but to avoid disappointment, ensure to pre-book your visit.

Plan your visit to Blickling Estate

How to get to Blickling Estate

Blickling Estate is located at the following address:

Blickling, Norwich, Norfolk, NR11 6NF

By Train

Aylsham (Bure Valley Railway from Hoveton and Wroxham) 2.8 km (1.75 miles) | North Walsham – 13 km (8 miles)

Buy your train tickets from Trainline UK, one of the best, popular and reliable suppliers of train tickets to passengers.

By Bus

Services from Norwich to Holt and Sheringham, alight at Aylsham, then 2.8 km (1.5 miles)

By Road

NW of Aylsham on B1354, signposted off A140 Norwich/Cromer – 2.4 km (1.5 miles)

Book places to stay near Blickling Estate

Rated as Excellent by visitors, Sankence Lodge is located 4.4 km from Blickling Hall. Managed by a private host, the property boasts garden views, free WiFi and parking

Peruse further and book your stay here

Peruse further on some carefully selected accommodation options in Aylsham, Norfolk to suit your style by navigating to this page.


If you have enjoyed reading this post on Ghosts of Blickling Hall, you may also like to learn a more on the history of Britain and wider UK. Here are some suggestions for you:

Magnificent Hever Castle | Childhood home of Anne Boleyn


I sincerely hope that this page is valuable to you in planning your visit to Blickling Hall? If so, do let me know in comments below. I would love to hear from you.

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ghosts of blickling hall norfolk
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Blickling Hall, popular throughout the year and more so around May 19 each year as visitors try to get glimpses at the ghosts of Blickling Hall via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/Blickling Hall, popular throughout the year and more so around May 19 each year as visitors try to get glimpses at the ghosts of Blickling Hall via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/

The magnificent Hever Castle | Anne Boleyn’s Childhood Home

The Magnificent Hever Castle | Anne Boleyn’s Childhood Home

Planning a visit to the Magnificent Hever Castle | Anne Boleyn’s Childhood Home

the magnificent hever castle
Hever Castle, Kent

Planning a visit to Hever Castle could not be easier – in this article you will find all the information you need. To add value to your visit, there is a quick guide to the castle’s seven-hundred-year history, a brief look at it’s famous resident Anne Boleyn (you can read all about Anne Boleyn in a much detail post here), the exhibitions and practical information on how to get to Hever Castle. As well, a little guide to places to eat and where to stay, should you decide to make a weekend trip instead of a day trip. First, let us start with a little introduction to Hever, a historic English village.

hever castle

About Hever Village

The historic Hever village is quite a small village near Edenbridge, in the District of Kent, England. Nestled in a serene and beautiful unspoilt countryside, surrounded with farmland and woodlands, Hever offers quiet country walks along its River Eden and pleasant days out, away from the bustle of city life. This little village has a public house and a church but dominated by Hever Castle, thus making Hever a prominent destination on anyone’s checklist of things to see and do in wider Kent.

A quick guide to the history of the magnificent Hever Castle

The history of Hever Castle spans over 700 years, beginning from the 13th century. The original structure was a medieval defensive castle with a gatehouse and walled bailey constructed in 1270. The castle was in need of repairs and was sold to Geoffrey Boleyn in 1462. Geoffrey Boleyn converted it into a mansion, and added a Tudor dwelling within its walls. From 1462 to 1539 the castle was under the ownership of the Boleyn family.

The Boleyn Family

The Boleyn Family | Coats of Arms
Coats of Arms of the Boleyn Family | Founded 1283 by John Boleyn. Dissolution in 1539 upon death of Thomas Boleyn

In 1505, Thomas Boleyn, Geoffrey Boleyn’s grandson inherited Hever Castle. He lived there with his family, wife – Lady Elizabeth Howard, and their children – Mary, Anne and George.

Henry fell in love with Anne Boleyn who refused to be his mistress, instead insisted to becoming his wife. They courted for seven years while Henry tried to annul his marriage with Catherine of Aragon. It finally led to the Reformation with King Henry renouncing Catholicism, creating Church of England and becoming the head of the church.

King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn

King Henry VIII

Following the Reformation, Henry and Anne were married in 1533. Anne gave birth to Elizabeth, who later became the renowned Queen Elizabeth I. However, Henry was disappointed because he wanted a male heir who would inherit the throne from him. With Anne having a male stillborn in 1536, Henry decided his marriage to Anne was over and he wanted to marry the younger Jane Seymour, lady-in-waiting and cousin to Anne, in the hope that she would give him a son.

Shrouded in conspiracy and scandal, charges were brought against Anne for incest, adultery, and treason amongst others, resulting in the incomprehensible tragedy – Anne was beheaded on May 19 1536 at Tower Green, Tower of London. She was Queen of England between 1533 and 1536, just a little over a thousand days.

Traces of Anne Boleyn…

Anne Boleyn | Hever Castle | The magnificent Hever Castle
Anne Boleyn | Hever Castle

After her execution, King Henry ordered for all things “Anne Boleyn” to be destroyed. As a result, documentary evidence of Anne Boleyn’s life is missing from British history and not much is known of Anne’s life and her thoughts. What is known of her today is information that had been passed down from her friends and very few belongings of her that escaped destruction. There are no portraits of her existing from during her reign or when she was alive. The portraits of her that are around were commissioned during the reign of her daughter, Queen Elizabeth I. As well, information that is known of her today were unearthed through much research by historians and writers.

View all recommended books written about Anne Boleyn and her family by famous historians from this carefully selected collection

Visiting Hever Castle is an opportunity to view what is thought to have been Anne’s bedroom and two personal prayer books in which she wrote. Both books bear her signature.

View article on Anne Boleyn | The most magnetic and Enduring of Tudor Queens

After the Boleyns

After the passing of Thomas Boleyn, Anne Boleyn’s father in 1539, Hever Castle came into Henry VIII’s possession. The castle was then bestowed to Anne of Cleves in 1540, Henry’s fourth wife as part of their annulment of marriage.

Hever Castle passed through many subsequent owners and came to rest with the American millionaire, William Waldorf Astor in 1903 who used it as a family residence. He spent his time and money in restoring the castle and inventing new developments. He created ‘Tudor Village‘ which is called the ‘Astor Wing‘ these days. He also invested in the construction and elaborate extension of the garden and lake. The property was subsequently sold to Broadland Properties Limited in 1983 who manages Hever Castle as an attraction.

Learn more about The Boleyn Family | Who were they and What happened to them after Anne’s death

Anne Boleyn at Hever Castle

Anne Boleyn is a figure that continues to intrigue historians and haunts British culture. There have been numerous sightings of Anne across England – Tower of London, Blickling Hall, Marwell Hall, Hever Castle and Hampton Court Palace.

Anne is said to appear each Christmas at Hever Castle, often happy as she used to be in her childhood. It has also been said that she appears around an old oak tree where she and Henry spent time together when they courted. She has also been seen walking across the bridge in the castle grounds which crosses River Eden.

Learn more about Anne Boleyn’s ghost and sightings in: Anne Boleyn Britain’s Most Well Travelled Ghost

What to Expect when visiting the magnificent Hever Castle

Give plenty of time when visiting Hever Castle. The castle appears deceptively small but there are much to experience, both indoors and outdoors. For an immersive experience, give yourself at least four to five hours.

The magnificent Hever Castle Gardens and Grounds

Hever Castle Garden | Kent

The magnificent Hever Castle is set in one hundred and twenty five acres of splendid glorious grounds! Nature and wildlife is abundant here and features of new habitations and eco systems have also been established.

The Lake is a thirty-eight acre lake constructed between 1904 and 1906. It is remarkably serene, peaceful and tranquil offering incredible vistas, nature trails, fun and great nature photography opportunity.

A walk around the lake and you may see robins, and woodpeckers as well as swans and herons. According to the castle’s website, one may be lucky enough to hear the glorious sound of the nightingale on very quiet evenings around the lake and the river.

The Loggia overlooks the lake and is a perfect spot to relax before embarking on a stroll through the Tudor Garden, Blue Corner and Anne Boleyn Walk. Anne Boleyn’s Orchard features old English varieties of apples and pears while Chestnut Avenue features chestnut trees planted in 1904-1908. From the Loggia, you could catch a view of the Japanese Tea House folly on the edge of the lake or you could access it by either taking the Lake Walk or hire a boat to row across the lake. Once at the Tea House, you could walk around it but there is no access to its interior.

Some experiences along the walk in the Hever Castle grounds
Some experiences along the walk in the Hever Castle grounds

Allow time to stay still and enjoy the tranquility and vistas afforded around the lake by hiring and rowing one of the boats, canoes or pedalos.

The Italian Garden is highly recommended. It is one of the popular places on the magnificent Hever Castle grounds that is uplifting and a wonderful area to sit and relax.

Italian Garden | the magnificent Hever Castle | Kent
Italian Garden | Hever Castle | Kent

The gardens feature a breathtaking display of 4000 rose bushes and more than 20000 spring bulbs along with 15000 bedding plants throughout the year. In Spring, the delightful 90000 snowdrops carpet the grounds, the uplifting crocuses and the colourful daffodils are in bloom while in Summer, the Rose Garden draws visitors to its kaleidoscope of colours and wonderful aroma. Autumn brings the trees to fore especially at Anne Boleyn’s orchard and as one may imagine, Winter sees the trees glow against the winter sky.

With so much to see, the outdoors to Hever Castle offer spectacular experiences no matter the season.

Lake and lock gates at Hever Castle

Hever Castle is only a hundred and twenty feet above sea level. It’s site on such low ground and close to River Eden together with a moat surrounding the castle which joined the river caused flooding of the castle courtyard. This led to the creation of a lake to the east of the castle with lock gates. These lock gates would control the level of the water upstream from the castle.

Inside the magnificent Hever Castle

Drawbridge leading to Hever Castle
Drawbridge and the front portcullis (said to be the oldest in England) leading to the Castle

Inside the thirteenth century castle features grand panelled rooms decorated with antique furnishings, beautiful, dazzling tapestries and an incredible collection of Tudor portraits, only second to the National Portrait Gallery. The following are some of the highlights to experience when you walk across the inner moat via a working drawbridge, which was reinstated by William Astor in early 20th century.

The Gatehouse

The oldest part of the castle is the medieval chamber in the Gatehouse and this dates back to the thirteenth century.

The Entrance Hall

The Entrance Hall was added c1506 by Thomas Boleyn. Some timber framed additions were installed by the Boleyns in the fifteenth and sixteenth century which are still visible today.

The Dining Hall

The present Dining Hall was the Great Hall in the fifteenth century and features a grand fireplace surmounted by the Boleyn coat of arms. When visiting the dining hall, look out for the Boleyns original feature on the right hand side under the window.

As well, look out for an intricate lock thought to be owned by King Henry VIII. Henry had a lock to his bedchamber wherever he went as a measure of security.

The Library

The impressive library was created in 1905 from what used to be administrative offices during the Tudor period. Above its fireplace is the portrait of Johann Jakob Astor, founder of the Astor fortune.

Morning Room at the magnificent Hever Castle

The Morning Room is a room where you can admire the great architecture of the seventeenth century. The panelling and fireplace dates back to this era. A closer look at the stone surrounding the fireplace reveal initials H.W. carved into it. This represent the Waldegrave family who owned Hever Castle between 1557 and 1715.

Anne Boleyn’s Bedroom

room.of.hours.hever.cast;e
Book of Hours Room | Hever Castle, Kent

The Anne Boleyn’s Bedroom feature a half-domed ceiling and is said to be an original fifteenth-century design to give the room greater space and light. By far the most touching of exhibitions relating to Anne Boleyn is the Book of Hours Room. On display are the treasured two prayer books belonging to Anne. She wrote in them and it has her signature. Personal prayer books were popular in England before the Reformation. The prayer books are called ‘Book of Hours’ representing the short services dedicated to the Virgin Mary on the eight fixed hours of the day.

Other highlights of the interior of the magnificent Hever Castle include:

The Staircase Gallery built over the entrance hall around 1506 by Thomas Boleyn. This gallery is home to the unusual find of Mary, Queen of Scot in Mourning portrait.

The King Henry VIII’s bedroom dates to the sixteenth century and houses the oldest ceiling in the castle from c.1462. Henry is said to have stayed in this room during his courtship with Anne.

The Waldegrave Room has a hidden Oratory behind wood panelling which was built in 1584 so the Waldegraves could practice their Catholic faith in secret.

long.hall.hever.castle
The impressive Long Gallery at Hever Castle, Kent

The Long Gallery really is an impressive construction. It extends the entire width of the castle with panelling dating back to the sixteenth century. An incredible collection of eighteen original portraits tells the story of the Tudors from Henry VI through to Henry VIII.

The tour of the interior of the castle ends at the Gatehouse which now houses a collection of historic swords, armour, instruments of torture and execution.

The remarkable difference between the original thirteenth century structure and the later additions in the sixteenth century cannot be more obvious than at the castle Courtyard. The front portcullis is a working mechanism and is said to be the oldest in the country, dating back to the thirteenth century.


On a final note about Hever Castle

Hever Castle is a remarkable structure and offers a wealth of information about the Boleyns and the Tudors. The intricate architecture speaks volume of painstaking craftmanship with some of the castle’s original features still existing. The best of these architectural marvel are above you-don’t forget to look up at the high ceilings in the Inner Hall and be amazed at the Tudor Roses dedicated to the Tudor reign and the two queen consorts who lived at Hever Castle.


Practical information on Opening Hours and How to get to Hever Castle

Hever Castle is located in the rural countryside on the border of Kent/Surrey/Sussex with convenient UK motorway and rail links. Gatwick Airport is 30 minutes away from the Castle.

Address: Hever Castle & Gardens
Hever
Edenbridge
Kent TN8 7NG

Opening hours:

Spring: til 28 Mar Last entry: 3 p.m. Final Exit: 4:30 p.m.

29 Mar – 30 Oct Last entry: 4:30 pm Final exit: 6 p.m.

1 Nov – 26 Nov (Wed through to Sun) Last entry: 15:00 Final exit: 4:30 p.m.

How to get to Hever Castle by road:

Hever Castle is located at about 48 km (30 miles) from central London and about 5 km (3 miles) southeast of Edenbridge, off the B2026 between Sevenoaks and East Grinstead in the village of Hever.

The Castle can also be reached via junction 10 of the M23, and is signposted from junctions 5 and 6 of the M25 and the Hildenborough exit of the A21.

Parking:

There is more than one car park. Parking is free and accessible parking is available. Staff are available to guide you to a car park that is available to use.

Note: Car park closes 15 minutes after last exit from the grounds.

By Rail

Trains run from London Victoria Station and London Bridge Station either via Oxted or East Croydon to:

Edenbridge Town Station:

Edenbridge Station is located about 5 km (3 miles) from Hever Castle. Take a taxi from the station to the Castle. You could book a taxi before hand with Relyon Taxis who operate from close the station. Relyon can be reached on 01732 863800.

Hever Station:

Hever Station is unmanned and there are no taxis nearby. It is located about 1.6 km (1 mile) from the Castle and involves a rural walk to the Castle.

Eurostar Terminal:

Ashford is 1.5 hours drive to the Castle

Ebbsfleet International is 1 hour drive to the Castle

By Air

Gatwick Airport is 30 minutes away and Heathrow Airport is 1 hour away, and then follow directions either by road or rail as above.

Places to Eat

A visit to Hever Castle is best enjoyed over a picnic in their beautiful grounds. As well, Hever Castle offer catering facilities and you can enjoy tea, coffee, cakes, light refreshments at its cafe or lunch at its restaurants.

Afternoon Tea served in the Tudor Suite Dining Room and Sitting Room

On weekends only – available on one weekend per month only excluding Nov/Dec. Sittings are at 1 pm and 3:30 pm. Vegan and vegetarian menu available.

Moat Restaurant

Moat Restaurant is a great place for coffee or a meal suitable for all the family. Enjoy a variety of freshly made sandwiches and freshly baked cakes.

Guthrie Pavilion Cafe

Offers a range of snacks including sandwiches, hot and cold drinks and freshly baked cakes

There are also Pizza Van | Ice Cream Kiosks | The Loggia Bar | Tudor Towers Kiosk | The Waterside Bar, Restaurant & Terrace


Places to Stay at Hever

Stay at magnificent Hever Castle
Stay at Hever Castle, Kent

Rated as exceptional, enjoy a memorable stay at the Luxury Bed & Breakfast located either in the Astor Wing, Anne Boleyn Wing or an Edwardian Wing attached to Hever Castle.

Peruse more Places to Stay near the magnificent Hever Castle on:

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What do you think…

Now, its your turn – what do you think? Is this article valuable to you in planning your visit to Hever Castle? Please let me know in comments below or Contact us at Timeless Travel Steps. Share your views and/or ask any questions you may have, we look forward to responding to all of your questions.

For now, have a wonderful time discovering and exploring Hever and the Kent countryside.

Georgina xx

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The magnificent Hever Castle | Anne Boleyn’s Childhood Home first published at timelesstravelsteps.com

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The magnificent Hever Castle, a romantic double-moated 13th century historic castle was the backdrop of some key events in royal history | Boleyn Family | Anne Boleyn | Home of Anne Boleyn | Visit Kent | Castle in Kent | Visit England | Visit UK | History of Britain | via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/The magnificent Hever Castle, a romantic double-moated 13th century historic castle was the backdrop of some key events in royal history | Boleyn Family | Anne Boleyn | Home of Anne Boleyn | Visit Kent | Castle in Kent | Visit England | Visit UK | History of Britain | via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/

Interesting Books on the Boleyns | Recommended

Interesting Books on the Boleyns | Recommended

The Boleyns were a prominent, powerful, and influential family from the 11th century but were at the height of their influence in the 16th century when Anne Boleyn became Queen consort to King Henry VIII.

Below you will find a collection of interesting books on the Boleyns – highly recommended if you would like to learn more on the Boleyns and Tudor England.

Click on the image and Buy on Amazon UK

History has lied.

Anne Boleyn has been sold to us as a dark figure, a scheming seductress who bewitched Henry VIII into divorcing his queen and his church in an unprecedented display of passion. Quite the tragic love story, right?

Download 500 years of Lies on Kindle Store

This definitive biography of Anne Boleyn establishes her as a figure of considerable importance and influence in her own right.

A full biography of Anne Boleyn, based on the latest scholarly research.

Download Life & Death of Anne Boleyn on Kindle Store

In this, the first full-length biography of Mary Boleyn, Alison Weir explodes much of the mythology that surrounds her subject’s notoriety. Her extensive research gives us a new and detailed portrayal, revealing Mary as one of the most misunderstood figures

1521. Henry VIII rules over a fashionable court alive with pageant and celebration, the lack of a son his only threat. When young Mary Boleyn arrives at court, she becomes his new mistress, an unwitting pawn in the ambitions of the powerful Boleyn and…

On 2 May, 1536, in an act unprecedented in English history, Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife, was imprisoned in the Tower of London. On 15 May, she was tried and found guilty of high treason and executed just four days later. Mystery surrounds the circumstances leading up to her arrest – did Henry VIII instruct Thomas

Download Lady in the Tower on Kindle Store

George Boleyn has gone down in history as being the brother of the ill-fated Queen Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII, and for being executed for treason, after being found guilty of incest and of conspiring to kill the King.

This biography allows George to step out of the shadows and brings him to life as ..

Download George Boleyn on Kindle Store

Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII, caused comment wherever she went. Through the chronicles, letters and dispatches written by both Anne and her contemporaries, it is possible to see her life and thoughts as she struggled to become queen of England, ultimately ending her life on the scaffold. Only through the… 

1539. Henry VIII must take his fourth wife and the dangerous prize is won by Anne of Cleves. A German princess by birth, Anne is to be Henry’s pawn in the Protestant alliance against Rome, but the marriage falters from the start. Henry finds nothing to admire in his new queen, setting himself against his advisors and nobles to pay court to young

Download the Boleyn Inheritance on Kindle Store

“Sir, Your Grace’s Displeasure and my Imprisonment are Things so strange unto me, as what to Write, or what to Excuse, I am altogether ignorant.”

Thus opens a burned fragment of a letter dated 6 May 1536 and signed “Anne Boleyn”, a letter in which the imprisoned queen fervently proclaims her

Download Letters from the Tower on Kindle Store

The Letters of Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn, perhaps the most remarkable documents of the kind known to exist, were published at Oxford in 1720 by Hearne, in a volume entitled Roberti de Avesbury Historia de mirabilibus gestis Edwardi III, and inserted in the third volume of the Harleian Miscellany, 1745. 

Download Love Letters of Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn on Kindle Store

A magnificent tale of family rivalry and intrigue set against Henry VIII’s court. The fall of Anne Boleyn and her brother George is the classic drama of the Tudor era. The Boleyns had long been an influential English family. Sir Edward Boleyn had been Lord Mayor of London. His grandson, Sir Thomas had inherited wealth and position,

Download Rise & Fall of the Boleyns on Kindle Store

It is 1560, and the newly crowned Elizabeth I is about to become romantically involved with Robert Dudley when an old woman appears bearing a diary written in the hand of the young queen’s mother, Anne Boleyn. Elizabeth has grown up knowing nothing of her notorious mother but what official history put forth: that she was an adulterer

Download the Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn on Kindle Store

The battle of Moodkee was sanguinary and well contested; among the brave who fell was Sir Robert Sale, the hero ofjelallabad, whose loss was bitterly lamented not only by the army but by the nation

USA Readers – please navigate and use links found >> AMZN USA Links

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iNTERESTING BOOKS ON THE BOLEYNS
Interesting books on the Boleyns to learn more
Interesting books on the Boleyns
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A collection of interesting books on the Boleyns - highly recommended if you would like to learn more on the Boleyns and Tudor England via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/A collection of interesting books on the Boleyns - highly recommended if you would like to learn more on the Boleyns and Tudor England via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/