Hadleigh Castle, Essex
Hadleigh Castle stands on the edge of an escarpment above the Leigh Marshes by the Thames estuary. Unfortunately the ground has proved unstable and the whole south side lays in fragments scattered around at all angles on the slope.
Built during the 13th century the castle was re-modelled during the 14th century by Edward III in response to the threat of French raids along the River Thames.
Access to the castle provides parking to this public park and is a great place to visit. There is also an animal rare breeds centre near the castle for the little ones, who will also love to explore the castle grounds, especially the 'fallen down' elements which lay scattered across the site.
~ History ~
1230 ~ Hubert de Burgh, Justiciar of England and Earl of Kent, obtains a licence from King Henry III to build a castle at his manor at Hadleigh.
1232 ~ Hubert falls from royal favour, but the King decides to complete the building work of the castle.
1361 ~ King Edward III remodels Hadleigh Castle with major efforts being directed to the total reconstruction of the castle's seaward facing defences. Here, a massive new 6 feet thick curtain wall with impressive drum towers, being the first sight any would be invader see as they approached the Thames estuary. To the main gate on the north side, an elaborate projecting barbican with a great half-round tower to one side are also built. Furthermore, impressive battlemented comfortable lodgings for the aging King, now in his late forties, within easy reach of both London and his new state-of-the-art castle at Queensborough, located just a short boat trip across the estuary at the Isle of Sheppey.
1500's ~ King Henry VIII gives the castle successively to his wives, Catherine of Aragorn, Anne of Cleves and Catherine Parr. Anne, who "spoke only German and spent her time chiefly in needlework" lived in Hadleigh Castle following her divorce.
1551 ~ The castle falls into ruin after being sold by King Edward VI to Lord Riche.