Every Castle has a story…

A 15th century castle must have a ton of stories. Herstmonceux Castle existed long before we used it as our international campus and there are many interesting tales to tell. So we have complied a list of interesting facts about the Castle for you to find out a bit more –

  • 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 destination 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.

You know, the Castle did not always look like this –

F-2Fi_sFSsh6pYJy80u8Ke13FiU5skqYeUTSIUngDOg,UJmChMBV9VOA49Rhh2jWy5j5EonYakeW4fyxkjKS8TwAfter it was abandoned and used as a smugglers den, it became quite the ruin –



Now no Castle would be complete without its own ghosts and Herstmonceux Castle is rumored to have a few ;) Over the years, there have been stories and rumors of The White Lady, The Swimmer, and the Lady in Grey lurking around the estate. The most popular Castle myth would have to be The Headless Drummer.

It is said that a nine foot tall ghost 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…

Some students make a point to go looking for The Headless Drummer  and most of the time, it just leads them our Castle Pub which is also called “The Headless Drummer.”

BTglkMPCYAANXaiIf you find that we have wet your appetite, we would recommend checking out our our website for more information about the interesting history of the Castle

You know, back in my day…
Radissen Ramoutar
BISC Admission Representative

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