Sunday 16 September 2012

Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle, built in 1119, served as a Norman stronghold in the county of Kent. It stands on three islands in a man-made lake. This is the barbican, or gatehouse, leading into Leeds Castle Island.

In 1278 King Edward I came into possession of the Castle. As his favourite residence, he put considerable resources into restoration. It is thought that he was responsible for the creation of the lake and moat from the nearby River Len in the 13th century.

The Tudor castle that stands today is the result of major rebuilding completed in 1823.

Leeds Castle has been a fortress as well as the private property of six medieval queens and kings, including Henry VIII. Above is the fireplace in the Henry VIII banqueting hall in which had bay windows installed to take advantage of the pastoral views.

Over centuries Leeds Castle passed from royal hands into ownership by various wealthy families.

Lady Baillie, the last private owner, undertook major improvements in the interiors. She entertained lavishly in the castle and its 500 acre parkland. Upon her death in 1974, a private charitable trust was established to preserve the castle and grounds for the benefit of the public.

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