Herstmonceux is inland from Pevensey Bay with its Norman castle, where the estate lands were originally granted to one of William the Conqueror’s loyal entourage, the Monceux family.
The Castle was radically rebuilt in the Tudor era (1485 – 1603) and is one of the oldest significant brick buildings still standing in England; brick was a relatively unusual material for that time in Britain.
|Interior corridor at the Castle|
However the builders of the Castle concentrated more on grandeur and comfort than on defence to produce a truly magnificent estate. Over the years through profligacy by the owners, the estate was confiscated and fell into disrepair.
The ruined residence was transformed last century having various private owners before being bought by the Admiralty in 1946.
After the war, due to light pollution in London, the Castle grounds became the home of the Royal Greenwich Observatory and remained so until 1988 when the observatory moved to Cambridge.
An Observatory Science Centre has been maintained within the grounds of the Castle where astronomy festivals are still held.
|Herstmonceux Spring Garden|
In 1992, the Canadian Ontario’s Queen’s alumnus Alfred Bader in conjunction with the University’s Study Abroad programme, purchased the Castle turning it into the Queen’s International Study Centre for Canadian students abroad.
It is now known as the Bader International School. (Queen’s University is situated in Kingston, Ontario, Canada – and is where the renowned chemist, Alfred Bader, studied).
|Elizabethan walled gardens,|
So Herstmonceux Castle has been through troubled times, however its fully restored imposing fortress-like brick building renowned for its magnificent moated castle, set in beautiful parkland with superb Elizabethan gardens – offers much to students, amateur astronomers and visitors to our part of Sussex.
Herstmonceux is a few miles from Pevensey Bay, landing place of William the Conqueror, not much further east is Battle, where the Battle of Hastings is believed to have been fought, or south-westwards to Eastbourne, where I live ... and though I’ve been to the Science Centre, I have yet to visit the Castle – shame on me, I guess!
That is H is for Herstmonceux Castle – a modern International School within a model brick fortress built in the 1500s, a parkland estate and an astronomical centre maintained in conjunction with the Royal Observatory ... part of the ABC series Aspects of the British Countryside
Bob Scotney featured Glenbuchat Castle, Ireland for his G castle on Saturday.
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