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Ellen Terry: The Saga Continues

Ellen Terry in Costume

Ellen Terry in Original MacBeth Gown

Alice Ellen Terry (February 27th, 1847 – July 21st, 1928) was the darling of the theatre and her life has been compared to that of Princess Diana. Born into a family that made their living from the traveling theatre, Ellen and her siblings never had a real home, as they spent most of their childhood in boarding houses near the theatre or actually at the theatre with their parents. By the age of eight, Ellen Terry was working in the theatre along side her older sister. By the time Ellen was sixteen, (1864) her sister had married well and was no longer working on the stage.  Ellen was the primary breadwinner of the family. Her parents encouraged her to marry G. F. Watts, a rich and famous painter,  who was thirty years her senior, and who had also offered to support her family after the marriage, since Ellen would be retiring from the stage, at age sixteen. G. F. Watts hired a companion for Ellen (to teach her the finer manners of polite society) and he continued to be a recluse painter. Within a year of the marriage, Ellen was bored to tears and he was bored with being married to a teenager that did not fit into his circle of friends.  The couple separated. He continued to pay her family 300 pounds a year until 1877, when he finally divorced her for adultery. By 1877 Terry had two children with Edward William Godwin, whom she never married, and had returned to the stage and was on to her second third husband, Charles Kelly. What was it about Ellen Terry? Men loved her. Her fans adored her; she could do no wrong in their eyes, no matter how scandalous her life was.

What was Ellen Terry’s secret? She didn’t care about the money, and she made plenty of it. She was generous to a fault. At seventeen, she left the stage for a second time to run off with the married, Edward William Godwin, and did not work for six years and had two children with him. The major problem was Edward William Godwin, architect and designer, didn’t work much. They fell on really hard times and Ellen Terry returned to the stage and picked up right where she had started off. She again was the darling of the theatre. Edward William Godwin, the love of her life, ran off and married his secretary, Beatrice Birnie Phillip. He was simply jealous of her success.  When Godwin died, Phillip, his widow, came to Terry and asked for money. Ellen Terry supported Phillip  financially and emotionally, until Phillip died and then supported  Phillip’s mother, for the rest of her life! How many women would do that? The men that Ellen Terry married, really weren’t all that nice, but had no problem living off her money.  She continued to support her family, her children, and all her husbands (except G.F. Watts) well after their separations and divorces. Ellen Terry’s parents thought Ellen Terry was very greedy and loved the limelight, (but she supported the entire family until they all died.) I think Terry could just not say no to anyone. In 1877, when G.F. Watts finally divorced Terry, she married Charles Kelly. Terry stated she loved manly men of the theatre, and Kelly was that. However, he wasn’t nearly as good an actor as Terry, and Henry Irving, Terry’s professional partner, whisked her away from him and Irving and Terry set off to America, leaving her husband by the wayside. Irving was not stupid either. Ellen Terry was his bread and butter!  Kelly and Terry separated, but she supported Kelly until his death. He died on the day she announced she was coming back to England! In 1907, Terry married, James Carew, in Pittsburgh,  her co-star in America, while on another tour there. She was 60 and he was 30. A letter on display at her home records the media hysteria when the news broke of her latest adventure. She wrote from Smallhythe Place, “The horror of it all when I first arrived back in England. I wish we had never been born! About 50 reporters and photographers all met me! I fought……flew into the railway carriage and pulled down all the shades….with an enormous crowd outside the windows asking me to put my head out!! Her marriage to Carew lasted two years. They separated, but she never divorced him.

Then there was the problem with the children. Daughter, Edith Craig, got a proposal for marriage, but Ellen told her daughter, who worked with her on the stage, that she was needed so much by Ellen that she could not marry. Her daughter responded by creating a wall, separating the cottage at Smallhythe Place, into two halves. Edith then moved two other females into the cottage on her side (where she lived in a ménage à trois, with dramatist, Christabel Marshall and the artist, Clare, “Tony” Atwood from 1919 until her death in 1947. Ellen Terry supported them all financially and lived alone on her side of the house. 

During this same period, Terry’s son, Edwin Gordon Craig, had managed to have thirteen children with eight different woman and Ellen Terry supported all the children and their mothers and then took care of the woman Craig finally married, and their two children also. Ellen continued to work, in the theatre in England and traveled the world in her later years, lecturing and acting, and at one point worked in the United States in the film industry.  She commented, “Am I to do one night stands for the rest of my life?” She was just a nice woman, who was very gifted and couldn’t say no. She also supported many charities and the Woman’s Right’s movement.

In her personnel life she was very thrifty. She was beautiful until the end and had beautiful clothes, but recycled them, dying her dresses new colors, adding a new feather here or there. Why buy new clothes when the old ones were perfectly fine? One of her most popular dresses, for the theatre, was the “beetle-wing gown.” Ellen Terry wore this green, shimmering dress, made with the wings of 1,000 beetles, as she performed as Lady Macbeth. The dress transformed the beautiful red-headed actress into a cross between a serpent and a medieval knight and was the talk of the town after the first night. John Singer Sargent painted Terry wearing it!  Oscar Wilde loved it! Edith Terry commented, “Is this not a lovely robe? It is so easy to wear, one doesn’t have to wear a corset!”

Lady Macbeth Beetle wing Gown, Worn by Ellen Terry

Lady Macbeth Beetle Wing Gown, Re-woven  

Beetle Wing Dress Worn by Ellen Terry

Re-Woven Beetle Wing Dress Worn by Ellen Terry

In 2006, the fragile knitted dress with the beetle wings, which had been preserved as part of Terry’s spectacular collection of theatre memorabilia, was falling apart. Beetle wings were regularly found lying at the bottom of the display case. Henry Irving’s, Macbeth, ran for more than six months to packed houses and the costume was re-used on many later tours also. It bore the scars of being tramped on by others, snagged on scenery, and torn from the jewelry Terry wore on stage. 

Ellen Terry Beetle Wing Gown

Working on Ellen Terry’s Beetle Wing Gown

Beetle Wing Gown Worn by Ellen Terry

Close Up of Beetle Wing Gown Worn by Ellen Terry

With donations to the National Trust, a 110,000 pound restoration was met and the dress is again on display at her home at Smallhythe Place. Most of the money came from visitors’ donations at her 16th century, chocolate-box cottage, at Smallhythe Place. An antique dealer in nearby Tenterden, donated additional beetle wings….. which the beetles shed naturally. The gown arrived at the studio of specialist textile conservator, Zenzie Tinker, in Brighton. She soon realized that she was dealing with the remains of two identical dresses, that had been patched together, when both were too badly damaged to wear.  Hundreds of beetle wings were repaired by gluing green-dyed Japanese tissue paper on the reverse side of the gown, and then stitching the beetles in place!

Ellen Terry led a remarkable life becoming one of the premier actresses of her day, admired for her beautiful voice, sensitive interpretations and striking appearance, right up to the end. Her death mask, on display, in her home proves it! She was very generous with her money, tried to help everyone, and was loved by all! Who could fault her?  Visiting Smallhythe Place, in Kent, will be an honor you never forget! Enjoy! See you next time!

PS, For pictures of the cottage at Smallhythe Place and the garden, see previous posts.

Who IS Ellen Terry?

Ellen Terry

Ellen Terry

Exactly who is Ellen Terry? Visiting her home, Smallhythe, on the National Trust Register in The UK, this is what I learned…………..

Ellen Terry was the Lady Diana of her day. Everyone wanted to be around her, everyone wanted to marry her. She was the rock star of Shakespeare and the theatre! She was beautiful! She could do no wrong in the eyes of her fans.  And like many stars she led a scandalous life! Upon her first retirement from the stage in 1867 she was one of the most sought after leading ladies of her time!

Born into a theatrical family, and along with her siblings, Terry began training for a touring company under the guidance of her father. At the age of eight she made her stage debut as Mamillius in “A Winter’s Tale” in London on April 28, 1856, with Queen Victoria in attendance. She also played comedy and burlesque, as well, and she and her sister, Kate, soon became the major breadwinners of the family. In 1864, when she was sixteen, she married the famous painter, G. F.  Watts, who was thirty years older than her. She was infatuated with his fine house and lifestyle and he was infatuated with her. He paid her mother and father a stipend since they would lose money when she retired from the stage upon their marriage. The so-called marriage ended within a year and they separated. He admitted that his primary concern had been to keep her off the stage, since it was considered a lowly profession.The most successful aspect of their marriage were the two paintings of her that he painted. The famous image in “Choosing depicts Terry deciding between earthly vanities, represented by showy camellias that she smells, and the nobler values, represented by the violets held in her hand.

"Choosing" by G.F. Watts

“Choosing” by G.F. Watts

Watts continued to pay her parents as long she as she agreed to be chaste.  She soon went back to the stage. So much for shrinking violets!

In 1868 while separated, but not divorced, she eloped with blossoming architect and designer Edward William Godwin, who also was married at the time. She again retired from the stage and moved to rural Hertfordshire with him, to a house he had designed. In 1869, her daughter Edith was born and her son Edward, in 1872. She gave them the last name Craig to spare them the stigma of illegitimacy. Surrounded by mounting debt, (Godwin liked very nice things), Terry returned to the stage in 1874. Godwin turned his efforts to designing theatrical costumes and scenery to be near her. Terry’s return to the stage was wildly popular, this time in the role of Portia in The Merchant of Venice, which brought her the highest fame of her career. Godwin left her, and since his wife had died, he married a young and upcoming designer from his office. During this time Terry had many admirers, both for her theatrical skill and her great beauty.

Watts filed for divorce, accusing Terry of adultery. In the meantime she had met fellow actor,  Charles Clavering Wardell, known by his stage name, as Charles Kelly. Many knew of Terry’s “invincible power”, as she was known as “the most fascinating woman in the world, when she cares to throw her spells around.” Many were dubious of the relationship between her and Kelly, but after her official divorce from Watts, Kelly married the “high strung, flighty,” Terry. Her mother called her “mad Ellen” saying, “She is greedy of praise. Yon can not lay it on too thickly, as long as you apply it with the brush and trowel.”

In 1878, Terry joined the  theatrical company managed by Henry Irving, who had assumed ownership of the Lyceum Theatre. Her relationship with Irving, which she always claimed was purely professional, lasted for over twenty years while playing opposite him in many great Shakespearean plays, as heroines such as Ophelia, Lady Macbeth, Viola, Queen Katherine, Juliet, and Beatrice in Much Ado about Nothing.

It was obvious that there was more money to be made, more kudos to be gained, by acting with Henry Irving than there was by acting with her own husband. Kelly turned to “social” drinking with friends that understood him, although he never admitted to being an alcoholic. Terry went on tour to America, and they separated. When Terry announced her return to England in 1885, Kelly promptly died.

During all this time Terry’s children traveled with her and when she was not working they lived at rural Smallhythe Place, her country home. There is so much more detail of her life and that of her children’s, that I can not get into here, but it can be found in a book by  Joy Melville, called, Ellen Terry. What a complicated and sad, sad, life they lived! I suggest you read it, it is sooooooo good!

In 1906, a tribute was produced at the Drury Lane Theatre in London for Terry’s Golden Jubilee. Still so popular with her audiences, her fans lined up days ahead, for a one day matinee featuring Terry and her children and and other famous actors. It was noted that from noon until six pm, thousands of Londoners filled Drury Lane with a “riot of enthusiasm, a torrent of emotion, a hurly burly of excitement, and thunders of applause. They cheered until hoarse, laughed on the verge of hysteria, and sang Auld Lang Syne in chorus, not without tears.” The Times noted, “ For half a century, Ellen Terry has been appealing to our hearts. Whatever the anti-sentimentalists say, that is the simple truth. She is a creature of full-blooded, naive emotions that excites those emotions in us.” 

In 1907, she returned to the stage in the United States, and while in Pittsburgh, married the American actor, James  Carew. Terry continued to work into her sixties and seventies, sometimes appearing with her daughter, Edith Craig. There’s so much more to that story!!!!! Read the book!!!!!! She separated from Carew in 1910.

Ellen Terry

Ellen Terry

In 1925, Terry was named a Dame of the British Empire, and in 1928 she died from a heart attack at her home in Smallhythe on July 21st. Her obituary read, “ The death of Dame Ellen Terry has been received with universal sorrow. In the history of the English stage no other actress has ever made herself so abiding a place in the affections of the nation.”

Her daughter, Edith, was committed to preserving her mother’s legacy. She opened the family home as a museum and then turned it over to the National Trust in 1947, upon her death from coronary thrombosis. There is a Shakespeare Festival, held in the converted barn and on the grounds, every year in honor of her mother.  

Don’t you want to peek inside her cottage at Smallhythe with me? Let’s do it then! Enjoy!

Inside Smallhythe Place, near Tenterden, Kent, UK

Inside Smallhythe Place, near Tenterden, Kent, UK

Isn’t this just the coziest cottage? Next we’re going to see Ellen’s famous dress!!!! You won’t want to miss it! See you then!

Inside Smallhythe Place, Country Home of Ellen Terry

Inside Smallhythe Place, Country Home of Ellen Terry

National Trust, Smallhythe Place: The Home of Ellen Terry

Smallhythe Place, near Tenterden, Kent, UK

Smallhythe Place, near Tenterden, Kent, UK

Smallhythe Place, Home of Ellen Terry, Tenterden, Kent, UK

Smallhythe Place, Home of Ellen Terry, Tenterden, Kent, UK

Smallhythe Place, the home of Ellen Terry, is located on a rural road, near Tenterden, where we made our base during my English Garden Tour. Coming from a narrow, graveled, country lane from the Bullein Barn B&B, Smallhythe Place was at the end of it. Everyday we were amazed at all the cars parked here and the visitors going to the home. It was so convenient we thought we would save it to the end of our stay.  This is not a big estate like some of the other National Trust properties we toured. This was a smallish house sitting on a smallish property. When we did visit, what a delight it was! As with all the National Trust properties, the hosts of this property made you feel so very welcome and were so knowledgable! I did not know a thing about Ellen Terry!  First let’s look at her house, which is now a memorial to her.

This is what I learned………………….

One day, in 1899, Ellen Terry was out for a buggy ride in the country (this is well away from London) with Henry Irving, (the manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London’s Covent Garden), who was also her theatrical partner for twenty-four years. Upon seeing a cottage at the side of the small lane near Tenterden, she made up her mind this was where she wanted to live and die. So she bought the place. She lived there until her death in 1928. The half timbered house was built in the late 15th or early 16th century. The house was originally a “Priest House” and then called the “Port House,” because of it’s location on the River Rother, which is now just a trickle along the side of the house. At one time this place was a thriving shipyard, the Old English word “hythe” means “landing place.” It is far off the beaten tract, even now. She definitely wanted her peace and quiet, away from the crowds! When Terry died in 1929, her daughter, Edith Craig, opened the home as a memorial to her mother and then the National Trust took over the property when Craig died in 1947. Smallhythe Place is filled with mementoes  of Terry’s career in the theatre. In 1929, Craig set up a barn on the grounds, as a theater, where William Shakespeare plays were performed every year on the anniversary of her mother’s death. This is continued even today.   

The cottage sits near the road and every day as we passed by, on the way somewhere else, I wondered if it would still be standing when we returned.  It really leans!!!!!

Smallhythe Place, near Tenterden, Kent, UK

Smallhythe Place, near Tenterden, Kent, UK

The Lane across from Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK

The Lane across from Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK

The Lane to the Bullein B&B, Tenterden, Kent, UK

The Lane to the Bullein B&B, Tenterden, Kent, UK

Smallhythe Place, near Tenterden, Kent, UK

Smallhythe Place, near Tenterden, Kent, UK

Smallhythe Place, near Tenterden, Kent, UK

Smallhythe Place, near Tenterden, Kent, UK

Smallhythe Place, near Tenterden, Kent, UK

Smallhythe Place, near Tenterden, Kent, UK

The Garden Sign at Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK

The Garden Sign at Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK

I loved the acknowledgement of the unwelcome plant! Silverweed!!!!!

Smallhythe Place, near Tenterden, Kent, UK

Smallhythe Place, near Tenterden, Kent, UK

Smallhythe Place, near Tenterden, Kent, UK

Smallhythe Place, near Tenterden, Kent, UK

The Garden at Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK

The Garden at Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK

The Gardens at Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK

The Gardens at Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK

The Garden at Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK

The Garden at Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK

The Garden at Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK

The Garden at Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK

The Garden from the Window, Smallhythe Place, Kent, UK

The Garden from the Window, Smallhythe Place, Kent, UK

The window picture was my favorite of the garden! It gives an idea of how serene the place is! It is the perfect cottage garden!

The Shakespeare Barn, Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK

The Thatched Shakespeare Barn, Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK

The Shakespeare Barn, Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK

The Thatched Shakespeare Barn, Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK

The Multiple Barns at Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK

The Multiple Barns at Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK

The Multiple Barns at Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK

The Multiple Barns at Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK

 Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK

Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK

There is a small refreshment center and outdoor seating at Smallhythe.

The Multiple Barns at Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK

The Multiple Barns at Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK

The Multiple Barns at Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK

The Outdoor Area of the Restaurant at Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK

It is just the cottage that you imagine in fairy tales! I can see why Ellen Terry chose to live here! So next time let’s take a peek inside Smallhythe Place! Who exactly is Ellen Terry? We’ll find out next time! See you soon!

Smallhythe Place, near Tenterden, Kent, UK

Smallhythe Place, near Tenterden, Kent, UK

Smallhythe: The Home of Ellen Terry

Our next stop is the National Trust home of Ellen Terry! What a fascinating place and person she was!  See you there!

Smallhythe, near Tenterden, Kent, UK

Smallhythe, near Tenterden, Kent, UK

The Gardens at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Kent, UK

Hever Gardens, Edenbridge, Kent, UK

Hever Gardens, Edenbridge, Kent, UK

If you ever want to see a beautiful Italian garden without leaving the UK, look no further than Hever Castle. For that matter if you want a beautiful setting for a wedding in an Italian garden, look no further than the Italian Garden at Hever Castle. The gardens here are absolutely stunning!

This is what I learned about……….. the gardens at Hever Castle.

Originally, it’s all about money and lots of it!

John Jacob Astor I was born in Waldorf, Germany on July 17th, 1763. After working with his father in the dairy business, he left Germany at sixteen and moved in with his brother in London. For five years he helped his brother manufacture and sell musical instruments. After the war of 1812, Astor moved to the United States, carrying with him a shipment of seven flutes. He then worked for his older brother, Henry, who was a butcher in New York City. Unhappy with the local trades, Astor began trading furs with local North American tribes and when a commercial treaty between the United States and Great Britain was made, new markets were created. Astor became the exporter of one of Canada’s premier fur trade companies and by the end of the decade, was worth 5 million dollars. Eighty five years later, at his death, Astor was the wealthiest person in the United States, worth billions!

So that is how the empire was built! Moving on………….

John Jacob Astor V was born in New York City in 1886, the fourth child of William Waldorf Astor and his wife Mary Dahlgren Paul. When he was five years old his family left New York to live in England. He was raised on an estate purchased by his father at Cliveden-on-Thames in Buckinghamshire and was educated at Eton College.  In October 1914, he was wounded serving with his regiment at Messines during WWI. His right leg was shattered and later amputated. Upon his father’s death, in 1919, he inherited Hever Castle, childhood home of Anne Boleyn,  near Edenbridge, Kent, where he lived the life of an English gentleman. 

"John Jacob Astor V" by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:John_Jacob_Astor_V.jpg#/media/File:John_Jacob_Astor_V.jpg

John Jacob Astor V

Astor married Lady Violet Mary Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, (thank goodness she was later referred to as Violet Astor,) on August 26, 1916. She was a widow, with two children. Her husband, Major Lord Charles George Francis Mercer Nairne Petty-Fitzmaurice, was killed in action at Ypres in 1914. Were Astor and Violet drawn to each other after their sad war tragedies?  Or were they drawn together by family backgrounds?  Or both?  I found an interesting tidbit about Lady Violet. It seems Astor was the jealous type and wanted Violet to give up all memorabilia from her life with her previous husband. She consulted, her friend, Vita Sackville-West, who I have previously written about, and they together concluded she should keep the letters her husband had written to her. So Violet hid them between some bricks when the remodeling was taking place at Hever. It’s amazing how small the elite social circles were! Vita’s mother, Victoria, had many affairs during her lifetime and one of them was with William Waldorf Astor, the father of John Jacob. Vita was taken along as a chaperone (as a child) so William Waldorf and Vitoria could vacation in Switzerland together! Those rascally women!

Lady Violet Astor

Lady Violet Astor

Anyway, back to the gardens, which were laid out between 1904 and 1908, by Joseph Cheal, turning marshland into a beautiful Italian garden to display William Waldorf Astor’s collection of Italian sculptures.

The Italian Gardens at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Kent, UK

The Italian Gardens at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Kent, UK

The Italian Gardens at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Kent, UK

The Italian Gardens at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Kent, UK

Click on any picture in the Gallery to see a larger view!

Over one thousand men worked on the garden and eight hundred men took two years to dig out the 38-acre lake at the far end of the garden.

The Loggia at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Kent, UK

The Loggia at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Kent, UK

The Loggia at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Kent, UK

The Loggia at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Kent, UK

The Lake at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Kent, UK

The Lake at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Kent, UK

The Lake at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Kent, UK

The Lake at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Kent, UK

The Lake at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Kent, UK

The Lake at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Kent, UK

Within four years the 125 acres of classical and natural landscapes were constructed and planted.

There is the formal loggia fountain, ( the very first picture shown) inspired by the Trevi Fountain in Rome and many cool and shady grottoes. Also, plenty of places to just sit and take it all in!

The Gardens at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Kent, UK

The Gardens at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Kent, UK

The Gardens at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Kent, UK

The Gardens at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Kent, UK

In the English Rose Garden there are more than four thousand roses!

There is a Tudor Garden, Blue Corner, and Rhododendron Walk, and Anne Boleyn Walk, with trees planted more than one hundred years ago.  Following the stream through the peaceful woodland garden there is the Sunday Walk and Church Gill Walk. There is also the Water Maze, built on Sixteen Acre Island, which is especially popular with children. There is a spot here for EVERYONE! There is so much to see and do at Hever Castle! Check out the many options and events going on all year long! You won’t be disappointed! Until next time in the garden, enjoy!

Hever Castle: Childhood Home of Anne Boleyn

The Deer on the Lawn at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Deer on the Lawn at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

St Peter and Paul Church, Edenbridge, UK

St Peter and Paul Church, Edenbridge, UK

Sign at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

Sign at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

Hever Castle is the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. Located near Edenbridge, the country house was built in the 13th century and from 1462 to 1539 it was the home of the Boleyn family, originally the “Bullen” family. Thomas Boleyn, born there in 1477, inherited the house in 1505 from his father, William Boleyn. The entrance to Hever Castle is easy to find. It is right across the street from St Peter and Paul Church in Edenbridge.

The Entry into Hever Castle, Edenbridge , UK

The Entry into Hever Castle, Edenbridge , UK

The Topiary Entry, Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Topiary Entry, Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Topiary Entry, Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Topiary Entry, Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Landscape of Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Landscape of Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The big burgundy tree is where the ghost of Anne Boleyn can sometimes be seen.  She courted with Henry VIII under this tree.

Let’s visit the castle!

The Topiary Entry, Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Topiary Entry, Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

There have been three main periods of construction to the historic castle. The oldest part of the castle dates to 1270 and consisted of the gatehouse and walled courtyard.

The Drawbridge into Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Drawbridge into Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Drawbridge into Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Drawbridge into Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Gatehouse at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Gatehouse at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Gatehouse at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Gatehouse at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Courtyard at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Courtyard at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

In 1462 Geoffrey Boleyn converted the castle into a Tudor manor house. Thomas Boleyn lived here with his wife Lady Elizabeth Howard and their children George, Mary and Anne. Anne lived here until she was sent to the Netherlands in 1513, to study at the court of Archduchess Margaret.

After the death of Thomas Boleyn, in 1539, the property belonged to King Henry VIII and in 1540 he gave Anne of Cleves, his fourth wife,  the property as part of an annulment settlement of their marriage. This is the second property we have toured, (the first being the Priest House in West Hoathley), that was given to Anne of Cleves in her annulment settlement. She did quite well by just giving Henry what he wanted with no fuss!

The last period of repair and renovation was in the 20th century when the property was bought by William Waldorf Astor in 1903. The American millionaire made the castle his family residence and restored the run down property and added an Italian garden to display his collection of statuary. Today the property is owned and managed by Broadland Properties Limited. This collection of cottages, restaurant, and B&B would be perfect for your stay! It ‘s like living in a fairy tale!

Hever Castle with Cottages at the Conference Center, Edenbridge, UK

Hever Castle with Cottages at the Conference Center, Edenbridge, UK

The Conference Center at hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Conference Center at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Conference Center at hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Conference Center at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Grounds and River Surrounding Hever Castle

The Grounds and Moat Surrounding Hever Castle

The Grounds and River Surrounding Hever Castle

The Grounds and Moat Surrounding Hever Castle

The estate is run as a conference center, but the castle and grounds are open to the public, but no pictures are allowed inside the castle. The castle offers three floors containing antique furniture, Ann Boleyn’s prayer books, instruments of torture and a large collection of Tudor paintings. The grounds are used for many seasonal activities, including a Christmas Walk and an International Christmas Walk in November and December.

The Grounds and River Surrounding Hever Castle

The Grounds and River Surrounding Hever Castle

The Grounds and River Surrounding Hever Castle

The Grounds and River Surrounding Hever Castle

The bridge  over the river is the place where Ann Boleyn’s ghost can be seen crossing on Christmas Eve!

The Grounds of Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Grounds of Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Deer of Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Deer of Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

To book your stay at Hever Castle see HERE! The castle and grounds are fabulous! Now let’s go see the beautiful Italian Gardens that William Waldorf Astor made here!

The Grounds and River Surrounding Hever Castle

The Grounds and River Surrounding Hever Castle

Haunted Hever Castle: Have You Seen Anne Boleyn?

Anne Boleyn, Queen of England

Anne Boleyn, Queen of England

We’re excited to be at Hever Castle, the childhood of home of Anne Boleyn! Ann Bolelyn, second wife of Henry VIII, had more influence over the fate of England than any of the other five wives of Henry VIII.   Risking everything to get Anne into his bed, she rose in power and riches only to be dashed down to the lowest depths after 1000 days of married life. She came to the end via an executioner’s sword. I believe most of Anne’s short life was lived under extreme tension. She spent seven years fending off Henry’s advances, because she didn’t want to be left like her sister, Mary, who had an affair with Henry that had turned out badly.  When she was finally  crowned queen many in the kingdom hated her because Henry broke away from the Catholic Church to establish his own church, the Church of England, so he could divorce his first wife, Katherine of Aragon, and marry Anne. Then Anne had a daughter, Elizabeth I, rather than a son, and more pressure was put on her, as her duty was to produce sons. After many complications and stillbirths, Anne had to be in a frenzy as to what to do to keep Henry happy.  Henry had sacrificed everything for Anne and was not getting what he wanted and needed, a son. I read an article lately that it is possible than Anne was RH-, meaning that her first child would have born without complications, but due the the mixture of her blood and her child’s at birth, her child being RH+, would have caused antibodies to built up in Anne’s blood preventing her from carrying another child to term. If that is the case she was indeed doomed from the start. I can’t imagine how it would feel to know your only worth in life was to produce a male heir! Such were the times.  In the end Henry chose to get rid of her and move on to a new wife. Is it any wonder Anne Boleyn still walks the spots that were favored by her in life and the ones that caused her the most grief? I think Hever Castle would have been her favorite spot, she had lived a carefree, happy childhood here. 

Recently, I read that people may have up to fifty senses rather than the normal five. If that is the case, there will be some people who are able to feel a presence in a place where other people have spent their time. If the place had great significance or stress for that person, their presence would be definitely felt.  Makes sense to me! Have you ever sensed someone’s presence?

So let’s look, since it is All Hallows Eve, and see the places where Anne Boleyn has been sighted. This time in the liturgical year is dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints, (hallows) martyrs, and all the faithful departed believers.

This is what I learned………. about the sightings of Anne Boleyn.

Haunting-at-Blickling-Hall, Norfolk, UK

Haunting-at-Blickling-Hall, Norfolk, UK

Blickling Hall, Norfolk, is sourced as the most likely place that Anne Boleyn was born. At midnight on the anniversary of her death, May 19th, she is said to make a dramatic return, dressed all in white,  traveling to the house in a carriage pulled by headless horses. She holds her head in her lap. Light footsteps approaching the bedroom can also be heard in the house although it was rebuilt 100 years after Anne’s death. Her brother, George, who was executed a few days before Anne, on the charge of committing incest with his sister, also returns to the house being dragged by horses while carrying his head in his arms.

Anne Boleyn at Haunted Hever Castle, Kent, UK

Anne Boleyn at Haunted Hever Castle, Kent, UK

Hever is the castle one pictures when they think of medieval life. The fairytale castle is complete with draw bridge and moat, crenellated notches on the roof tops for firing down arrows, and the tiny cross openings for guards to peek out. Built as a medieval defensive castle with a gate house and walled courtyard in 1270, it was the home of one of the most powerful families, the Boleyns, in the 16th century. Anne seems most present on Christmas Eve here, crossing  a bridge over the River Eden on her way to the castle. At other times of the year, a wraith-like figure, in white, is seen most often in the gardens and under a big oak tree where she and Henry courted.

Hampton Court Ghost of Anne Boleyn

Hampton Court Ghost of Anne Boleyn

Most of the catch-me-if-you-can courtship between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn took place at Hampton Court, one of the many royal homes. Anne’s ghost has been seen, dressed in blue, floating along the passageways. As late as 1945, Lady Baden-Powell, who had an apartment at the palace, wrote in her diary that a visitor sensed the presence of Queen Anne Boleyn in a little turret room that Anne used as a private praying room.

Ghost of Anne Boleyn, , UK

Ghost of Anne Boleyn, Tower of London, UK

Some of the many sightings of Anne’s ghost occurs at the Tower of London, where Anne stayed twice. The first time was the night before her coronation in the summer of 1553. The last time was under very sad circumstances, when she was on trial for her life. Charged with incest, adultery and witchcraft, she was beheaded on May 19th, 1536. Her body was hastily buried in an old arrow chest, that was too small for the body. Without any services or ceremony the box was buried beneath the altar in the chapel of St Peter Ad Vincula.    

Towards the end of the 18th century, it was recorded that the Captain of the Guard noted light coming from the chapel, even though it was locked. He got a ladder and peered through a window and claimed he saw Anne (who he recognized from paintings) and a group of knights and ladies approach the altar. They disappeared when they reached the altar. Also, in 1864, a sentry guardsman, saw a figure float out of a doorway towards him. Wearing a bonnet, with no head inside, he challenged the apparition with his bayonet, which went right through it. The man fainted on the spot. Another Yeoman Warder saw a bluish form drifting towards the Queen’s House and another saw a woman in white emerging after midnight from the house. All of these sightings, noted at various times by different people,  were sworn under Oath.

The Salle Church, Norfolk, UK

The Salle Church, Norfolk, UK

The Salle Church in Norfolk completes the rounds of ghost sightings. The church contains the brasses, (dated 1440) dedicated to the remains of Geoffrey Boleyn and his wife, who were Anne’s paternal great-grandparents. Some believe that after Anne’s execution her body was removed from the Tower and re-buried at midnight, with the rites of a Christian burial, beneath a plain black marble tombstone inside the Salle Church.  The letters and diary of Crispin, Lord of Minherve, a foreign dignitary in London at the time of Anne’s trial, offered an impartial and “first hand” overview of the proceedings from Anne’s arraignment through her trial and execution. Historians have regarded Crispin as a reliable and unbiased witness, since he had no ties to the royal court.  The Salle Church will neither deny or confirm the allegations. ( although they provide some validity of evidence from various letters, including Crispin’s) The Salle Church, in addition to the St Peter Ad Vincula in the Tower of London, will not give permission to examine those buried beneath their floors. Indeed we are left with stories and legends, so you can make up your own mind. But, let’s next explore what it was that Anne loved so much about Hever Castle. The estate and grounds are quite remarkable!  See you there!

A Look at Hever Castle, Childhood Home of Anne Boleyn

Here we are at Hever Castle, draw bridge and all! We’ll be taking a good long look here! See you soon!

Hever Castle, Kent, UK

Hever Castle, Kent, UK

The Gardens at Chartwell, Home of Winston Churchill

From the Terrace at Chartwell, Kent, UK

A Walk Through the Rose Garden at Chartwell, Kent, UK

One of the fun parts of our day was going to and fro to the different National Trust estates. Several times our first attempt to find the entrance of an estate would be missed. Most of the estates are situated in the country (logically), some off a main road and some off very, very, very, small country lanes. We got to see a great deal of the countryside that way, and many of the small villages we came upon weren’t the ones  were had intended to see. The main thing is to keep your wits about you and realize you’ll get to the estate on your second third time around. This is how we got to see the beautiful village of Westerham and the little cottages on the other side of the walls!

Now inside the gates of Chartwell!

Chartwell Gardens, Westerham, Kent, UK

Chartwell Gardens, Westerham, Kent, UK

Chartwell, Westerham, Kent, UK

Chartwell Gardens, Westerham, Kent, UK

The gardens at Chartwell, country home of Winston Churchill, were some of the best seen on “My English Garden Tour.” Each one is distinct and unique, adding their own personal touch. Like many other National Trust properties these gardens are well loved and well tended. There are garden tours with a volunteer gardener daily at 2pm. Just check at the visitor center. Now let’s go out and look at this garden!

A look from the terrace and on down the path!

From the Terrace at Chartwell, Kent, UK

From the Terrace at Chartwell, Kent, UK

A cluster of cottages is now used as art galleries and studios at Chartwell.

From the Terrace at Chartwell, Kent, UK

From the Terrace at Chartwell, Kent, UK

From the Terrace at Chartwell, Kent, UK

From the Terrace at Chartwell, Kent, UK

First a stroll through the flower gardens is in order!

A Walk Through the Flower Gardens at Chartwell, Kent, UK

A Walk Through the Flower Gardens at Chartwell, Kent, UK

What is the Marlborough Pavilion? Lady Churchill created the small outdoor entertaining area in 1927 and painted the walls pink with murals depicting the 1704 Battle of Blenheim in Germany. The battle was led by the Duke of Marlborough, Sir Winston’s ancestor. LOVE the PINK color!

The Marlborough Pavilion, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Marlborough Pavilion, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Marlborough Pavilion, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Marlborough Pavilion, Chartwell, Kent, UK

 

The Marlborough Pavilion, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Marlborough Pavilion, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Marlborough Pavilion, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Marlborough Pavilion, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Marlborough Pavilion, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Marlborough Pavilion, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Marlborough Pavilion, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Marlborough Pavilion, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Marlborough Pavilion, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Marlborough Pavilion, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Marlborough Pavilion, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Marlborough Pavilion, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Marlborough Pavilion, Chartwell, Kent, UK

Leaving The Marlborough Pavilion, Chartwell, Kent, UK

And now a walk to the Rock Garden and Fish Pond!

Walking to the Rock Garden, Chartwell, Kent, UK

Walking to the Rock Garden, Chartwell, Kent, UK

Walking to the Rock Garden, Chartwell, Kent, UK

Walking to the Rock Garden, Chartwell, Kent, UK

Walking to the Rock Garden, Chartwell, Kent, UK

Walking to the Rock Garden, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Rock Garden and Fish Pond at Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Rock Garden and Fish Pond at Chartwell, Kent, UK

One of the first gardens we entered was the rock garden and the fish ponds. The day we were visiting they were cleaning the pond. How about that job?

The Fish Pond, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Fish Pond, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Fish Pond, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Fish Pond, Chartwell, Kent, UK

Cleaning the Fish Pond and Rock Garden at Chartwell, Kent, UK

Cleaning the Fish Pond at Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Biggest Leaves, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Biggest Leaves, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Biggest Leaves, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Biggest Leaves and Stems, Chartwell, Kent, UK

Now let’s take a look at Georgina Landemare’s kitchen garden! Mrs. Landemare started her career as an under-kitchen maid, eventually working up through the ranks under French Chef Paul Landemare, whom she married. Working for the Churchills since 1930, she first worked at Chartwell doing weekend parties. In 1939, she started full time as a private cook at No. 10 Downing Street and the War Rooms during the week, and then came to Chartwell on the weekends, until it became too dangerous for the family to be there. Just before a bomb fell on No. 11 Downing, she was called repeatedly to a bomb shelter. When she finally got there she told Churchill, “Sir, the soufflé is not quite done.” You have to admire a cook like this! On VE night Sir Winston Churchill told her he would not have made it through the war without her!

The Kitchen Garden, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Kitchen Garden, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The playhouse, named MaryCot, was built for their youngest daughter, Mary. It is also in the kitchen garden. What a wonderful place to pretend and play! Of course, there was a miniature kitchen in there!

Marycot, The Playhouse For Mary, Chartwekk, Kent, UK

MaryCot, The Playhouse For Mary, Chartwell, Kent, UK

Wow, with all we’ve seen a rest is called for!

The Bench, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Benches, Chartwell, Kent, UK

Last, but not least, on the way back to the restaurant, let’s look in the Butterfly House!

The Butterfly House, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Butterfly House, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Butterfly House, Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Butterfly House, Chartwell, Kent, UK

See you next time! If you are in the UK a stop to see Chartwell would be well worth the time! Next, we on our way to see Ann Boleyn at Hever Castle!  See you there!

The Rose Garden at Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Rose Garden at Chartwell, Kent, UK

The National Trust: Chartwell, Home of Winston Churchill

Chartwell, Westerham, Kent, UK

Chartwell, Westerham, Kent, UK

Chartwell, Westerham, Kent, UK

Chartwell, Westerham, Kent, UK

To my surprise, one of the National Trust estates that I liked the best was Chartwell, the principle home of Winston Churchill.  I knew my husband would like it. I thought there would be several military rooms and manly stuff. I was pleasantly surprised at how “down to earth and homey” it was. I didn’t realize Winston Churchill liked to paint. There are beautiful water color paintings throughout the home, that he painted. The house commands a spectacular view across the Weald of Kent, the primary reason for it’s purchase, since the farmhouse “had no architectural merit.” The gardens and surrounding countryside were inspirational for Churchill’s paintings. The entire home has been preserved as it would have looked when Churchill owned the home, with original furniture, books, and some of the medals and honors that Churchill received. His wife, Clementine, left her mark in the gardens. The Golden Rose Garden, a gift from their children for their Golden Wedding Anniversary, is not to be missed. A rock garden feature caught Lady Churchill’s eye at the 1948 Chelsea Flower Show and the designer, Gavin Jones, gave it to her! There is a large kitchen garden which produced hampers of food for the Churchill’s London home or for 10 Downing Street, when they were away from Chartwell. The hampers of vegetables were sent by car every Monday and by train on Thursdays, to the cook, Mrs. Georgina Landemare. Churchill built the walls around the gardens himself (at ninety bricks per hour; (he timed himself)  and their pets Rufus I and Rufus II are buried in the gardens, just like we would do. There is a cottage/playhouse (called Marycot) in the garden, built for their youngest daughter, Mary. They seemed like down to earth people to me!

This is what I learned………. about Chartwell.

The site was built upon as early as the 16th century when the estate was called, “Well Street.”  There was a well at the north side of the house called, Chart Well. “Chart” is an Old English word for rough ground. Henry VIII is reputed to have stayed here when he was courting Anne Boleyn at nearby Hever Castle. In the 19th century it was a red-brick farmhouse of tile-hung gables and poky windows.

The Churchill’s bought the property in 1922, which consisted of the main farmhouse on eighty acres and three cottages. They immediately set out to renovate and update the home. I liked it because it was so light and airy with beautiful views from all the windows. The home eventually contained five reception rooms, nineteen bed and dressing rooms, eight bathrooms and a heated and floodlit swimming pool. There was also a water garden where he fed his fish and small lakes were created from dams, and were linked by steps descending from the farmhouse terraces. It was overall very tranquil. Churchill often commented, “A day away from Chartwell is a day wasted.”

In 1938, Churchill suffered big losses on Wall Street and put the estate up for sale. The industrialist, Sir Henry Strakosch, agreed to take over Churchill’s stock market shares for three years, and paid off all the debts. During WWII the home was mostly unused, due to it’s exposed position on the hill and being so near the English Channel and German occupied France. It would be potentially vulnerable to German air attacks or commando raids. The Churchill’s spent their weekends at Ditchley, in Oxfordshire, or their official country residence, Chequers, in Buckinghamshire.

In 1946 the Churchill’s  could no longer afford to keep up the property, so a consortium of wealthy businessmen purchased the estate and arranged a nominal rent so the Churchills could live there until their deaths. Churchill died in 1965 and Lady Churchill decided to present the property to the National Trust at that time as pre-arranged. I think this home may have brought back too many memories for her.  

Chartwell, Westerham, Kent, UK

Chartwell, Westerham, Kent, UK

Let’s take a look at this beautiful estate. First, the home. No pictures allowed inside, so we’ll see it from every angle outside! Most pictures get a look at Clementine’s roses too!

Chartwell, Westerham, Kent, UK

Chartwell, Westerham, Kent, UK

Let’s sit awhile and just enjoy the view from the terrace! I LOVED this table!

A Unique Table on One the Terraces Overlooking the Grounds, Chartwell, UK

A Unique Table on One the Terraces Overlooking the Grounds, Chartwell, UK

The Open Grounds of Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Open Grounds of Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Open Grounds of Chartwell, Kent, UK

The Open Grounds of Chartwell, Kent, UK

I could be very happy in one of the cottages found behind the garden walls!

One of Three Cottages on the Grounds of Chartwell, Kent, UK

One of Three Cottages on the Grounds of Chartwell, Kent, UK

A tip: Get to Chartwell early in the day. The admissions are timed, so you may have to wait to get inside the grounds, although that might be a blessing as there is a fabulous cafe there called, “Landemare”, after their cook. There are Chalkboards everywhere on the grounds with quotes from Winston Churchill! 

Cafe Landemare, Charwell, kent, UK

Cafe Landemare, Charwell, Kent, UK

Cafe Landemare, Charwell, Kent, UK

Cafe Landemare, Charwell, Kent, UK

Also, as with most National Trust properties, there is a gift shop you could spend hours in. Or you can look over lots of plants that are available to purchase and take home. Oh, if I only lived in England! I would need an 80 acre garden for all my National Trust plants! Tomorrow let’s walk through the fabulous gardens of Chartwell!

Plants For Sale, Chartwell, Westerham, Kent, UK

Plants For Sale, Chartwell, Westerham, Kent, UK

Plants For Sale, Chartwell, Westerham, Kent, UK

Plants For Sale, Chartwell, Westerham, Kent, UK

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