The Weald of Kent, Surrey and Sussex
Herstmonceux Castle    Church Road  Herstmonceux  

Books and other documents
PublishedTitle, author and references
1851The Castle of Herstmonceux and its Lords by The Rev. Edmund Venables ⇒ p. 125
1904Highways and Byways in Sussex by E.V. Lucas ⇒ p. 334
1909English Homes and Villages (Kent & Sussex)
also published as
Tunbridge Wells and its Neighbourhood by Lady Hope ⇒ p. 125

Historical records

1086HistoryHerstmonceux CastleVenables' Herstmonceux
[In the Domesday Book], we find Herst in the possesion of William son of Robert, earl of Eu, being one of 108 manors which, together with the Castlery of Hastings, had been besowed upon his father by his royal relative as a recompense for his eminent services both in the council chamber and in the field. It was held of him by one Wilbert, who was also tenant of considerable lands in Warbleton, Hoo, and other adjacent parishes. The manor was rated at five hides, and contained ten ploughlands of arable. In the demesne, or portion of the manor used by the lord himself, three ploughs were employed; while on the rest of the manor thirty villeins with twelve cottagers employed sixteen ploughs. In the woods there was pannage for two hogs.

c 1200HistoryHerstmonceux Castle
Idonea de Herst married a Norman nobleman named Ingelram de Monceux and around this time, the manor began to be called the "Herst of the Monceux", a name that eventually became Herstmonceux.

c 1300HistoryHerstmonceux CastleVenables' Herstmonceux
[The de Monceux family held the manor until] John de Monceux died without issue and his sister Maud, who inherited his estates, carried them into the noble family of Fienes, on her marriage with Sir John de Fienes about the middle of Edward II's reign.

5th Apr 1351HistoryJohn de Fienes, of the manors of Herst and Compton MonceuxHerstVenables' Herstmonceux
John de Fienes died April 5th 1351 seized of the manors of Herst and Compton Monceux … and that William de Fienes son of John was the next heir.

1361 to 1375HistoryWilliam de FienesHerstmonceux there is a capital messuageVenables' Herstmonceux
[William de Fienes] married Joan, daughter and heiress of Geoffrey, Lord Say, and died in 1361. At the inquisition held after his death the jury found that "at Herstmonceux there is a capital messuage with garden adjoining which is worth nothing a year, beyond the reprises; that there are 350 acres of arable land lying in marsh, of which two parts can be sowed yearly, and that an acre is worth 9d. a year, beyond the reprises, producing altogether £13. 2s. 6d.; there are 199 acres of arable land, two-thirds of which can be sowed every year, of which each acre is worth 4d. when sown, when not sown 3d., as pasturage for beasts; the other third is worth 2d. an acre as pasture; there are 10 acres of meadow, worth 10s. a year; the value of an acre is 12d. and no more, because it is often flooded, and cannot be mown except in a dry season; 20 acres of bush, worth 3s. 4d. a year, for pasturage of sheep and other beasts; 8 acres of bush called Bemsell, worth nothing because they are copse, and were cut down before William's death ; 80 acres of arable called Lewstrode, worth 20s. a year; the price of an acre is 3d. for pasture, because it cannot be sown and is overgrown with heath; 20 acres of bush called Bokage in Lewstrode, worth nothing because they are copse. Lewstrode and Bemsell are alienated to William de Batisford in fee. And they say that the rents from the free tenants and 'nativi' there amount to £17. 16s. 2d., and the labour of the bond-men in the autumn and winter is worth 58s.; the perquisites of the Court are 3s. 4d."
John de Fienes, who was not three years old at the time of his father's death, followed him to the tomb at the early age of seventeen, Marcg 24th 1375.

1407HistorySir Roger Fienes, treasurer of the household of Henry VIHerstmonceux CastleVenables' Herstmonceux
[John's] heir and successor in his manors and estates was his brother William. … He married Elizabeth, the daughter and heiress of William de Batsford whose wife Margery was the heiress of Simon de Peplesham. With her he inherited the reversion to the manor of Bucksteep and a watermill on Warbleton parish, besides large estates in Dallington, Wartling and other adjoining parishes. Elizabeth died before her mother Margery, on whose decease, in the year 1407, all her estates passed to her grandson Roger Fienes, the elder son of William and Elzabeth.

1440HistorySir Roger Fienes, treasurer of the household of Henry VICastleVenables' Herstmonceux
Up to the year 1440 there had only existed a manor house at Herstmonceux, but this was now to give place to the more imposing and majestic edifice which still commands our admiration even in its decay. Sir Roger obtained the king's licence to fortify his manor house at Herstmonceux, to inclose his manor, and to enlarge the park with six hundred acres, and erected the present Castle at the cost of £3800.

1534HistorySir Thomas Fiennes, 8th Lord DacreHerstmonceux CastleVenables' Herstmonceux
Thomas, Lord Dacre, died in 1534: the provisions of his will (dated Sept. 1, 1531) are of considerable interest to the ecclesiastical antiquary. They are as follows :-
"My body to be buried in the parish church of Hurst Monceaux, on the north side of the high altar. I will that a tomb be there made for placing the sepulchre of our Lord, with all fitting furniture thereto, in honour of the most blessed sacrament. Also, I will, that a cl. be employed towards the lights about the said sepulchre, in wax tapers, of ten pounds weight each, to burn about it. Also, I will, that my funeral be solemnized according to the degree of a baron, and that a tomb be set over my grave, to the end that it may be known where my body resteth. Also, I will, that an honest priest shall sing there for my soul, by the space of seven years, taking annually for his salary, and to find bread, wine, and wax, xii marks sterling."
Proved 1534.
In pursuance of the directions of this will, the stately monument which adorns the chancel of the parish church was erected, and which, though it has suffered much from time and the barbarous hand of sacrilege, and the scarcely less barbarous touch of renovation, may justly be styled one of the finest specimens of monumental architecture in the county of Sussex. Beneath its richly-fretted canopy repose the effigies of Thomas, Lord Dacre, and his son, Sir Thomas Dacre (who preceded his father to the tomb), each clad in complete armour, with the exception of the head which is bare, with their hands raised in an attitude of supplication. Lord Dacre had married Anne, the daughter of Sir Humphry Bourchier, a granddaughter of John, Lord Berners. His son had allied himself to the house of Sutton, having taken to wife Joan, daughter of Edward and sister of John, Lord Dudley.

1541HistoryThomas Fiennes, 9th Lord DacreHerstmonceux CastleVenables' Herstmonceux
There was executed at Saint Thomas Waterings three gentlemen, John Mantell, John Frowds, and George Roidon; they died for a murther committed in Sussex, in companie of Thomas Fines, Lord Dacres of the South: the truth whereof was thus. The said Lord Dacres, through the lewd persuasion of some of them, as hath Beene reported, meaning to hunt in the parke of Nicholas Pelham, esquire, at Laughton, in the same countie of Sussex, being accompanied with the said Mantel, Frowds, and Roidon, John Cheinie, and Thomas Isleie, gentlemen, Richard Middleton, and John Goldwell, yeomen, passed from his house of Hurstmonseux, the last of Aprill, in the night season, toward the same parke, where they intended so to hunt. … the Lord Dacres himselfe was arreigned before the Lord Audleie of Walden, then lord chancellor, sitting that daie as high steward of England, with other peeres of the realme about him, who then and there condemned the said Lord Dacres to die for that transgression. And afterward, the nine and twentith of June, being Saint Peter's daie, at eleuen of the clocke in the forenoone, the shiriffs of London, accordinglie as they were appointed, were readie at the tower to haue receiued the said prisoner, and him to haue lead to execution on the Tower hill; but as the prisoner should come forth of the tower, one Heire, a gentleman of the lord chancellor's house, came, and in the king's name commanded to staie the execution till two of the clocke in the afternoone, which caused manie to thinke that the king would haue granted his pardon. But neuerthelesse, at three of the clocke in the same afternoone, he was brought forth of the tower, and deliuered to the shiriffs, who lead him on foot betwixt them unto Tiburne, where he died. His bodi was buried in the church of Saint Sepulchers.

1593 to 1611HistoryHerstmonceux CastleVenables' Herstmonceux
Gregory [Fiennes] … died without issue in 1593; when his sister Margaret, who was married to Sampson Lennard, Esq., of Chevening in Kent, inherited his estates, and was recognised as Baroness Dacre by a commission in 1604. This Sampson Lennard, who is mentioned with much regard by Camden in his 'Britannia,' as a person of great worth and politeness, and the Lady Dacre his wife, lived much at Herstmonceux, where they were remarkable for their noble housekeeping and splendid hospitality; they embellished the castle with costly chimney-pieces, ornamented, according to the fashion of the times, with their armorial bearings, and erected the grand staircase. They had seven sons and six daughters, and are buried in Chevening church, under a noble monument, on which are both their effigies in full size, with their children kneeling round.

1662 to 1708HistoryThomas Lennard, 15th Lord Dacre and 1st Earl of Sussex Herstmonceux CastleVenables' Herstmonceux
Thomas, Lord Dacre, was the last descendant of the ancient families of Herst and Monceux who possessed the castle and manor which still bears their name. The cause of the alienation of this ancient property were his own extravagance and heavy losses at play, which rendered it necessary for him to part with some of his estates, to retrieve his broken fortunes. He had the misfortune to came very young to the dissipated court of Charles II, with whom he was brought into familiar intercourse by his appointment as lord of the bed-chamber, and received the very questionable honour of king's son-in-law, through his marriage with the Lady Ann Palmer, alias Fitzroy, daughter of the duchess of Cleveland. With her he obtained a dowry of £20,000, and in 1674, was created earl of Sussex, a title which died with him. A very considerable sum must have been expended by him in the alteration, and as it was then doubtless considered the improvement, of Herstmonceux Castle; for it was by him that in the principal apartments on the east side of the Castle, the narrow casements were enlarged into wide sash-windows, and dark oak wainscots, enriched with carvings by Gibbons, substituted for the original tapestry.

1708HistoryGeorge Naylorestate of HerstmonceuxVenables' Herstmonceux
It was in 1708 that the estate of Herstmonceux for the first time exchanged owners by purchase. The new possessor was Mr. George Naylor, of Lincoln's Inn, who paid £38,215 for the whole estate, castle and manor. … The heir of Mr Naylor's estates was Francis Naylor, the son of his sister Bethia who had married Dr. Francis Hare.

1775 to 1797HistoryRev. Robert HareHerstmonceux CastleVenables' Herstmonceux
The bishop resided for some considerable time at Herstmonceux Castle, but his son Francis Naylor, entirely neglected his venerable mansion, so that when upon his death in 1775, it devolved upon his half-brother, The Rev. Robert Hare, the bishop's son by his second marriage, the whole building was in such a state of decay, that the expenditure of a very considerable sum was required to put it into habitable repair. The building was surveyed by Mr. Samuel Wyatt in 1777, and pronounced by him to be so dilapidated, that it was judged expedient to demolish the interior of the castle, and employ the materials in building new rooms to the mansion-house on the west side of the park. His advice was unhappily followed; the new house, for such in point of fact it became, was erected with the spoils of Roger Fienes' venerable mansion. However much we may find to commend in the arrangements of the modern house, and in the beautiful proportions of the apartments, we shall all, I think, agree that Mr. Wyatt's raw white stucco is but a poor substitute for Roger Fienes' mellow red brick, and mourn over the destruction of so magnificent a pile, as indeed a national loss, the more to be lamented, as it is utterly irreparable.

1780Herstmonceux CastleHerstmonceux Castle, watercolour painted by Samuel Hieronymus GrimmSamuel Hieronymus Grimm, topographical artist© British Library Board - Shelfmark: Additional MS 5678, Item number: f. 1 (no. 1)

1807 to 1846HistoryFrancis Hare Naylorthe estateVenables' Herstmonceux
Francis Hare Naylor, Esq., the son of the Rev. Robert Hare, sold the estate to Thomas Reed Kemp, Esq., in 1807; and in 1819 the trustees of the late John Gillon, Esq., purchased it for his nephew, the late John Gillon, Esq., M.P., who, in 1846, sold it to the late Herbert Barrett Curteis, Esq., M.P., father of Herbert Mascall Curteis, Esq., M.P. for Rye.

1818Herstmonceux CastleHerstmonceux Castle, watercolour (38 x 59cm) painted by John Buckler© British Library Board - Shelfmark: Additional MS 37122B, Item number: f. 2

1851Herstmonceux Castle from the SouthHerstmonceux Castle from the South drawn by Wm K. BrookeVenables' Herstmonceux

1851Herstmonceux Castle from the SouthHerstmonceux Castle from the South drawn by P.H. DelamotteVenables' Herstmonceux

1851The Gateway TowerThe Gateway Tower, Herstmonceux drawn by P.H. DelamotteVenables' Herstmonceux

1851Herstmnoceux Castle from the South WestHerstmnoceux Castle from the South West drawn by Wm K. BrookeVenables' Herstmonceux

1851Interior of Porter's Lodge and Gateway TowerInterior of Porter's Lodge and Gateway Tower, Herstmonceux drawn by Wm K. BrookeVenables' Herstmonceux

1851Interior of Herstmonceux Castle East sideInterior of Herstmonceux Castle East side drawn by Wm K. BrookeVenables' Herstmonceux

1851Interior of Herstmonceux Castle from the North EastInterior of Herstmonceux Castle from the North East drawn by Wm K. BrookeVenables' Herstmonceux

1904Herstmonceux CastleHerstmonceux CastlePrivate collection

c 1910Herstmonceux CastleHerstmonceux CastlePrivate collection

c 1910Herstmonceux CastleHerstmonceux Castle drawn by W.H. BorrowPrivate collection

c 1910Herstmonceux CastleHerstmonceux Castle photographed by C. GouldsmithPrivate collection

1913 to 1933HistoryHerstmonceux Castle
Radical restoration work was undertaken by Colonel Lowther in 1913 to transform the ruined building into a residence and completed for Sir Paul Latham in 1933 by the architect, Walter Godfrey. The existing interiors largely date to this period, incorporating architectural antiques from England and France. The one major change in planning was the combination of the four internal courtyards into one large one.

1946 to 1988HistoryHerstmonceux Castle
Herstmonceux Castle passed through the hands of private owners until it was sold in 1946 to the Admiraltya and in 1957 the Castle grounds became the home of the Royal Greenwich Observatory and remained so until 1988 when the observatory moved to Cambridge.

1993 to 2009HistoryHerstmonceux Castle
In 1993 the Castle was purchased for Queen's University, Ontario (Canada) as a gift from Drs. Alfred and Isabel Bader and in 1994, after intensive renovations, the Queen's International Study Centre was opened. It hosts primarily undergraduate students studying arts or commerce through the Canadian University Study Abroad Program (CUSAP), as well as graduate students studying Public International Law or International Business Law. In late January 2009, the centre was renamed the Bader International Study Centre.

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