Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Visit to Leeds Castle

Many times while being here I have past while on the train the Bearstead Station. This station is the drop of point to Leeds Castle, which I think has been voted the most beautiful castle in UK. As I wanted a walk I check the map and found that the nearest station is Hollingbourne which is the next stop. So I donned on my walking shoes had headed out for a few hours. From Hollingbourne Station I walk about 3 miles to the Castle. Through a tiny village, down a public walkway through a couple of gates, got greeted by a bunch young bovine (who was very interested in me wondering why this fellow was in their field) of across the motor way and high speed rail tracks via a bridge of course. Then through some woods meet a grey squirrel across another road and wala I was at the castle. Spectacular castle I reckon. So heres a few pics of the journey

Old House in Hollingbourne

An oast or oast house is an example of vernacular architecture in England, especiallyKent and Sussex.

They are farm buildings used for drying hops in preparation for the brewing process.

Leeds Castle

Courtyard inside the older part of the castle

So there you have it Leeds Castle oh heres a bit of Wiki history about it.

Built in 1119 by Robert De Crevecoeur to replace the earlier Saxon manor of Esledes, the castle became a royal palace for King Edward I of England and his queen, Eleanor of Castile in 1278. Major improvements were made during his time, including the barbican, made up of three parts, each with its own entrance, drawbridge, gateway, and portcullis. The medieval keep is called the "Gloriette" in honour of Queen Eleanor.

In 1321, King Edward II besieged the castle after his queen was refused admission, and used ballistas, or springalds, to force its defenders to surrender. Richard II's first wife, Anne of Bohemia, spent the winter of 1381 at the Castle on her way to be married to the King, and in 1395, King Richard II received the French chronicler Jean Froissart there, as Froissart described in his Chronicles.

Henry VIII transformed the castle for his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and a painting commemorating his meeting withFrancis I of France still hangs there. His daughter, Queen Elizabeth I was imprisoned in the castle for a time before her coronation.

The castle escaped destruction during the English Civil War because its owners, the Culpeper family, sided with the Parliamentarians. The last private owner of the castle was the Hon. Olive, Lady Baillie, a daughter of Almeric Paget, 1st Baron Queenborough, and his first wife, Pauline Payne Whitney, an American heiress. Lady Baillie bought the castle in 1926. She redecorated the interior, first working with the French architect and designer Armand-Albert Rateau (who also oversaw exterior alterations as well as adding interior features such as a 16th-century-style carved-oak staircase) and then, later, with the Paris decorator St├ęphane Boudin. Baillie established the Leeds Castle Foundation. The castle was opened to the public in 1976.