Leeds Castle Timeline

 

Leeds Castle Timeline

  • The History of Englands Leeds Castle
  • Information & Facts + Leeds Castle Timeline
  • When was this Medieval Castle built?
  • Leeds Castle Timeline and major events
  • Roundhead arsenal in the Civil War
  • Haunted by a large black dog Ghost!
 
 
 
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Leeds Castle Timeline

Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle Timeline

  • Leeds Castle is nowhere near the City of Leeds
  • It was named after Ledian, who was the chief minister of King Ethelbert IV ( 856-860)
  • The building of the original Saxon Fortress started in 857AD
  • The Saxon castle was an earthwork enclosure with wooden pallisades
  • Springs from the North Downs gave rise to tributaries that joined the River Len feeding mill streams and ponds. A mill had existed on the site for centuries and it is documented in the Domesday Book however, no trace of it now remains
  • Converted into a stone Donjon by the Norman Robert Crevecoeur
  • Building of the stone castle, in the style of a Norman Donjon, started c1119 and it had two towers along the perimeter
  • The original Norman Donjon has now vanished
  • King Edward I (r.1272-1307) who instigated the construction of the famous concentric castles made many alterations c1278 including the re-building of the shell keep called the Gloriette
    • The Barbican was made of three parts - the drawbridge, gateway and portcullis
    • The mill was located at the south end of the Barbican
    • The Barbican was constructed on the outer wall of the dam
    • There was an an aqueduct in the basement enabling the flooding of the Len Valley during times of impending danger making this an important defensive feature of Leeds Castle
    • A revetment wall with a gatehouse and turrets protected the dam and the Barbican
  • In 1321 King Edward II of England besieged the castle and used ballistas to force its defenders to surrender
    • His wife Queen Isabella was refused entry by the owners wife - Lord Badlesmere
    • Lord Badlesmere was a supporter of Lancaster
    • King Edward II took an army besieged the castle
    • The siege was broken after just one week
  • In 1441 Eleanor Cobham, the wife of the English statesman Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (1391-1447) was convicted of witchcraft
    • Eleanor Cobham was accused of destroying the life of King Henry VI by witchcraft
    • The duchess was found guilty
    • She was condemned and sentenced to walk barefoot through the most public street in London with a lighted taper in her hand
  • Converted to a Royal Palace by King Henry VIII
    • "It was from Leeds that Henry started for his momentous meeting at the Fields of the Cloth of Gold with Francis I of France in 1520, embarking at Dover - an event recalled by the magnificent paintings in the Banqueting Hall."
    • The work was undertaken by Sir Henry Guildford
  • In 1552 the castle was granted to Sir Anthony St Leger who was the Lord Deputy of Ireland
  • It was sold to the Parliamentarian Culpeper family in 1632
  • The Parliamentarians occupied the castle during the Civil War and used it as a Roundhead arsenal
  • In 1666 Dutch prisoners were confined here and set fire to some of the buildings
  • In 1675 King Charles II gave the Castle’s owner, Lord Culpeper, more than five million acres of the New World. Lord Culpeper travelled to the New World to take up the post of Governor of Virginia
  • In 1778 it was sold to Lord Fairfax who ‘Gothicised’ the main house
  • In 1926 it was sold to the Hon Mrs Wilson Filmer, Lady Baillie who spent 30 years restoring the castle
  • In 1988 an aviary was opened in 1988 as a memorial to Lady Baillie full of many birds including the famous black swans
  • The Maze was designed by Vernon Gibberd and was planted in 1988 with 2,400 yew trees
  • The Leeds Castle ghost is a large black dog

The Earls and owners of Leeds Castle passed through several great dynasties. The medieval castle was held by members of several families - the St Legers, the Culpepers and the Fairfaxes and the Wykeham Martins. It was purchased in 1926 by the Hon Mrs Wilson Filmer, Lady Baillie, who was an Anglo-American heiress. After her death, the castle was handed over to the Leeds Castle Foundation.

Leeds Castle Timeline

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