Studying in a 15th century castle means you will be surrounded by a very rich history. Herstmonceux Castle has many interesting tales to tell and we figured we would share some of its interesting facts -
- It was originally owned by the Fiennes family (Of which Ralph Fiennes who plays He Who Must Not Be Named in the Harry Potter films, is a relative.)
- From 1777 to the early 20th century, the Castle was dismantled and became a ruin.
- The Southern Coasts of England were very popular for Smugglers and they used the Castle as a smuggler’s den.
- To keep locals from discovering their smuggler’s den, it is rumored that they created the myth of “The Headless Drummer” to scare them away.
- In the early 20th century, the Castle ruin was a popular tourist location in England and it was restored in 1933.
- In 1992, Dr Alfred Bader was on a train and read a newspaper article advertising the Castle for sale. He and his wife Dr. Isabelle Bader bought the Castle and donated it to his Alma Mater, Queen’s University who turned it into their International Study Centre.
- In 2009, Queen’s renamed it the Bader International Study Centre in their honour.
Now you know what the Castle looks like today but you may be wondering, what did it look like then? Here is the Castle ruin for your viewing pleasure -
The structure above was no doubt a place that many wanted to explore to see what was inside. A place like that would not be complete without its own ghosts and Herstmonceux Castle does not disappoint. While there are a few ghosts that are rumored to roam the Castle (The White Lady, The Swimmer, and the Lady in Grey), the most popular would have to be The Headless Drummer. This ghost is said to be a giant who is roughly nine feet tall and walks the corridors beating on his drum. The story goes that he may be Gregory Fiennes, the 10th Lord Dacre, who would constantly beat his drum to drive would-be suitors from his much younger wife. Eventually, she locked him in a small room and left him to die in 1575. You can still hear the ghostly beating of his drum around the corridors…at least that is what they say…
There is a ton of information on the history of the Castle but we just wanted to wet your appetite. If you are a history enthusiast or if you are just generally interested, I would recommend checking out our our website for more information about the interesting history of the Castle -
Submitted for the approval of the BISC Society,