Leeds Castle

About Leeds Castle

  • In 857 CE, a Saxon leader called “Esledes” (Leed) had a wooden fortress built on he River Len. This fort was later given as a token of friendship by Edward the Confessor to the Godwin Family, a great rival to William the Conqueror
  • The fort / castle was occupied by William who gave it to his son, William II (Rufus), and Rufus gave it further on to the Crevecoeur Family. The Crevecoeurs rebuilt it as a motte-and-bailey type stone castle.
  • When the castle returned to Royal hands, it was mostly owned by wives of monarchs – six of them, to be exact.
  • It was Henry VIII who transformed Leeds Castle into a real and elegant royal residence for himself and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. However, his son Edward VI gave the castle to Sir Anthony Leger who stopped riots in Ireland. Leger paid 10 pounds a year to the king. Since this time (16th century) the castle has been privately owned.
  • Now it is run by Leeds Castle Foundation.
  • As a result of the alterations, the castle is a great example of 900 years of castle-building: Norman, Medieval, Spanish (the Gloriette), Tudor…

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