Remember ...

If not now, when?

Sunday 15 May 2016

A Dive Into Herstmonceaux Castle

Come Dive with me into Herstmonceaux Castle.

During my recent holiday, I did a fair bit of sightseeing.  Something I love about Sussex is that the county oozes history and little treasures.  Like this one here.
But it's not really a castle - a valley site is not where you would choose to put one.  Apparently.  It is a 15th century moated fortified house, originally the home of the Ffiennes family.  But its known as a castle, so let's just call it that!

The front façade is original.

It's one of the earliest examples of a red brick built building in England.  The skill of brick making was lost in England after the Romans departed, then brought back by knights returning from the 100 years war.

The back of the castle, re-built by various owners over the centuries.

The castle is now owned by Queen’s University, Canada, having been bequeathed to it by a wealthy Canadian philanthropist, Bader, who originally bought it for his Sussex-born wife.
This may interest to my Canadian visitors.
Today, it operates as an International Study Centre so is not furnished in period style.

Much of the internal woodwork is architectural salvage from other stately homes around the country.
The staircase on the left is medieval.  Returning travellers brought Dutch and French influences to English interiors.

Fine fireplaces are dotted around the castle.

The castle was used by smugglers in centuries past, and kept safe from unwanted prying eyes by stories of ghosts haunting some of its rooms.

A depiction of the ghost of the headless drummer boy.

 The castle is built around a quadrangle.  An example of the fine ceilings to be seen.

Passing the very large modern sun dial and through a fine summerhouse ...

... visitors can wander through formal gardens, remedial herb gardens, and a Zimbabwean sculpture garden.  Eclectic, huh?Massive old chestnuts line a walkway.

The Royal Observatory at Herstmonceaux shares the drive to the castle.

Greenwich Mean Time was devised in the 18th century as an aid to mariners and is the base line for all time globally.  London pollution eventually caused the unit to move from Greenwich to Sussex's cleaner skies.  It housed reflecting and refracting telescopes in its green domes.  In 1990, the work was moved to Cambridge.  It is now the Observatory Science Centre.

Thank you for joining me on this Dive.  I hope you enjoyed hearing of this little piece of English history. 
I certainly did.

A la perchoine.


  1. I've just found your blog and I'm enjoying it immensely. As a Canadian, I particularly liked today's blog (my niece and nephew both went to Queen's) - and I didn't know that the university owned a castle in England. I love your outfit posts and recipe/food blogs. Thanks!!

  2. Hi Barbara, Thanks for popping in. I thought the piece would come as a surprise to my Canadian visitors!
    And thanks for your feedback on the posts generally - I'm so pleased you like them and I love hearing of what readers enjoy.