Sunday, 10 February 2013

Leeds Castle Pt. 1

Another castle with 900 years of history 
Leeds Castle in Kent has been a Norman stronghold; 
the private property of six of England's medieval queens; a palace used by Henry VII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon;
a Jacobean country house; a Georgian mansion;
an elegant early 20th century retreat for the influential and famous;
and in the 21st century, it has become one of the most visited historic buildings in Britain. 

The first stone castle was built by a Norman baron during the reign
of William the Conqueror's son Henry I on an island  in the River Len. In 1278, a century and a half later, it came into the possession of Queen Eleanor of Castile, first wife of Edward I.
For the next 300 years the castle remained a royal residence before becoming a private home

Crossed over the moat and round to a back entrance

where we enter the extensive cellars

and into the Norman cellar

wine cellar

leaving the cellars and on to the top of the stairs where there are
23 bedrooms

and into the bedroom of Queen Catherine de Valois
widow of Henry 5th 1420's 

where there is a day bed to match the main bed

the bathroom next door

and looking out into one of the courtyards

before entering a private chapel

and another internal courtyard

Lady Baillie's room

and her shoes

her dressing room

and bathroom lined with Russian Onyx
the most lavish in the castle

The bedroom of Catherine of Aragon

Took lots of photos of the castle and grounds so need to show it over a few postings so more to come


Canadian Chickadee said...

What a great tour! Brought back many happy memories of our visit there some years ago. Thanks for sharing.

Winifred said...

Lovely photos Barbara. Must have been a very interesting tour.

Trisha said...

In all that magnificence, it is good to see they had a private chapel. Blessings, Trisha

Cathy said...

Hi Barbara,

Was there a reason for the bedspreads to drape so far onto the floor back then (Queen Catherine de Valois' room)? Seems rather unsafe to me!

Elizabeth said...

I have never been here and long to go.
Outstandingly romantic and lovely.
Will add it to my rather extensive list.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

How cute it was to see the shoe collection and to know that even back then women had a shoe fetish. It must have been amazing to live in a place like that. 23 bedrooms is astounding. I enjoyed today's trip so much. It's Monday morning here and that was a great way to start the week off. Hope your day is a lovely one!

Vee said...

Oh I wanted to see the mother and the mistress. =D

Lovely home all these years later. Obviously, a well loved and cared for property with a whole lot of history.

Needled Mom said...

Your photos are just fabulous and give us such a wonderful sense of being there ourselves. It looks like it was a beautiful day to visit as well. Thanks for sharing another visit with us.

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Hello Barbara, I'm glad they let you take photos inside, what a treat. I've never seen bed covers that overflow so lavishly onto the floor like that. I wonder if this is from that period? And, love the last photo - a typewriter for typing out the phone messages I assume, by the staff who answered the phone.

Willow said...

Lovely place! Whenever I see a home built on an island with parts of it in the water, I wonder how the home is preserved from water damage and rot. That the castle is still standing after all these centuries is amazing.

Gracie Saylor said...

Last night I watched BBC's Downton Abbey which helps me imagine how Leeds Castle was/is inhabited, but still the craftsmanship and grandeur would make it difficult for me to feel cozy at home, I think :-)
Thanks for enlightening me, though, Barbara.