Herstmonceux Castle

In my last post on Hever Castle, I mentioned Herstmonceux Castle and its founder’s connection to Hever Castle. Today I am finally introducing my readers to this castle which has a special place in my heart.

The entrance to Herstmonceux Castle

Ten years ago, I spent a spring term at Herstmonceux Castle, also known as BISC (Bader International Study Centre), which is the UK campus of Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. I am sharing some of the photos I took of the Castle and its extensive grounds.

The Castle

Herstmonceux Castle in Hailsham, East Sussex is a 15th Century moated castle. It takes its name from surnames of the 12th Century couple Idonea de Herste and Ingelram de Monceux who lived in the Herste manor. In 1440 Sir River Fiennes had the manor crenellated (fortified). It became what is now known as the BISC (Bader International Study Centre) in 1993 when Dr Alfred Bader (and his wife, Dr Isabel Bader) donated it to his alma mater, Queen’s University, after his wife had turned down the castle due to having too many rooms to clean! Throughout the years, Mr Bader has supported the university financially and generously gifted over 200 paintings, including three Rembrandt paintings. To read more about the inspiring couple, read their biography here and here.

Elizabethan Room

The Dining Hall

Salvaged from other stately residences, if I remember correctly.

From the ‘rooftop’ of the Castle

The Gardens & Grounds

The grounds encompass 300 acres of woodland, seven formal gardens, a folly, and the Chestnuts Tea Room (yes, you can enjoy very affordable afternoon tea there).

The Rose Garden with a bust of John Flamsteed, the first Astronomer Royal who established the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, and the Reclining Equiangular Sundial.

Bottom left: Herst-Henge / Wood-Henge; bottom right: Magic Garden

The woodland

The 1930’s-does-18th Century / Georgian Folly

Peacock residents!

Period Drama Film Location

I can only find two historical and historically-inspired dramas filmed at Herstmonceux: ‘Lady Jane’ and ‘Prince Caspian’.

Directions from London (without a car):

  1. Take the train from London Victoria station to Polegate.
  2. From there, you’ll need to hire a taxi to get you to Herstmonceux Castle. Walking 3+ miles from Herstmonceux village is not an option!

Public Visiting Times (for non-students):

The Castle is open to the public from March-October from 10am to 5pm/6pm*. Tickets for adults are £6 for the gardens and grounds (£13 with the Science Centre) and £2.50 for an hour-long guided tour. *Please refer to the website for dates and times so that you won’t have a wasted journey! Alternatively, check the Events page for special events.

For those of you interested in studying in a castle, it is possible to do an exchange term or year but you’ll need to apply through Queen’s.

P.S. The student halls are not within the Castle but on the grounds. You’ll wake up to the sound of cows mooing!


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