Allington – A Castle for the Ages

Allington – A Castle for the Ages

Allington Castle

Allington Castle, tucked away amongst the lush greenery of Kent, has a long and noble lineage beginning shortly after the Norman Invasion.
Its most famous residents, arguably, were the Wyatts.

Anne Boleyn

 Thomas Wyatt the Elder was renowned as a poet and is looked upon as the father of the English version of the sonnet. He is also well known as the thwarted lover of Anne Boleyn, and nearly lost his life for that affection. His son, Thomas the Younger, lost his life in Wyatt’s rebellion, likely intended to unseat Queen Mary I and, perhaps, place her younger sister, the future Elizabeth I, on the throne. The rebellion failed and lead to his beheading. As further punishment, for treason, Wyatt’s head and limbs were hung from gallows after his death.

The family seat of the Wyatts is in Maidstone, near the Medway River, which flows from the North Sea into the County of Kent in the southeast of England. Allington Castle stands on land once held by the Celts, then the Romans and next the Saxons. As early as 1086 there is mention of a manor house at Allington (Elentun) held by Uluric, thought to be the fourth son of Earl Godwin.

Following the Norman Conquest, William the Conqueror’s half brother, Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, was awarded the estate, but it was soon transferred to William, Earl of Warren. During his tenure as landowner, a Norman castle was built, probably a stone bailey with a moat. When that castle was ordered destroyed by King Henry II in 1174, a manor house was rebuilt that included dovecotes that remain to this day.

In a medieval do-it-yourself frenzy over the next several hundred years, the castle was improved by successive tenants. When Allington passed by marriage to Sir Henry Cobham in 1309, the impressive Solomon’s Tower was added. From then until 1492, Allington stayed by marriage and inheritance in the hands of Penchester descendants.

Henry WyattIn 1492, however, the castle was awarded with gratitude by Henry VII to Sir Henry Wyatt; Sir Henry had suffered imprisonment and torture in Scotland under Richard III for Wyatt’s support of the Tudor claimant. Sir Henry served Henry VII for many years as a Privy Councillor, with the king’s finances, and finally as executor of Henry VII’s will. He not only helped manage the royal family’s affairs during Henry VIII’s childhood, he also became an extremely wealthy man in his own right.

This wealth enabled him to refurbish and expand Allington Castle, adding tall Tudor windows, a large porch, modern fireplaces, an improved kitchen and a courtyard through which England’s oldest Long Gallery ran. One of the towers was also torn down and in its place a Tudor dwelling was built. A magnificent, panelled Royal Room was added to house important guests. The public rooms featured high, stone walls and the private lodgings of the family were beautifully furnished with wood-panelled walls and luxurious carpets, tapestries and furniture.

Allington Castle

 The Wyatt household included two sons, Thomas and Henry, and at least two daughters, Margaret and Anne/Mary. These residents of Allington Castle were deeply enmeshed in the story of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII.  The youngest sister, Meg in my books, was a favorite of Anne Boleyn’s and became one of her chief ladies-in-waiting. Meg traveled with Anne to Calais and later served as Mistress of the Queen’s Wardrobe, sticking by Anne all the way to the platform on which the queen was beheaded. Meg received Anne’s final prayer book in which Anne had inscribed, ““Remember me when you do pray, That hope doth lead from day to day.” Notably, Anne, who often wrote in French, used English here.

And, so, to modern times. Today, Allington Castle is owned by a generous American, deeply committed to properly stewarding the castle: Sir Robert Worcester, KBE DL, the current Chancellor of University of Kent. It’s interesting to note that Sir Robert is not the first American connection to Allington Castle. In November, 1621 Francis Wyatt, grandson of Thomas the Younger, became the first royal English governor of Virginia.
I wonder, should we visit Allington today, would we feel whispers of England as it was, is, and ever shall be?

{Main Allington Castle photo credit: By Samuel and Nathaniel Buck [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, By Samuel and Nathaniel Buck – Views of Ruins of Castles & Abbeys in England, 1726-1742, Public Domain,}

{ Allington Castle photo credit: By Photochrom Print Collection – Library of CongressCatalog:, Public Domain, }

{ Anne Boleyn photo credit: See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, By Unknown – [2], Public Domain, }

{Henry Wyatt photo credit: Hans Holbein [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons}

{Allington Castle photo credit: By John Cassell – Internet Archive, Public Domain,}

21 Comments On This Topic
  1. Jo Barton
    on Sep 23rd at 12:35 am

    Lovely article and what a beautiful castle – looking so romantic on the banks of the river.


  2. Susan Heim
    on Sep 23rd at 5:52 am

    Thank you so much for the fascinating information on Allington Castle!
    smhparent at hotmail dot com

  3. Vesper
    on Sep 23rd at 8:35 am

    Visiting castles in Britain is one thing I do miss since moving to Canada. Used to live near the ruin of Dunnottar castle – walking there virtually every Sunday morning

  4. Marsha Lambert
    on Sep 23rd at 9:08 am

    I really enjoyed reading about Allington. A fascinating history. Thank you for the giveaway.

  5. Lane Hill House
    on Sep 23rd at 9:49 am

    YeS! YeS! YeS!!! I want to be included for this complete series ~ I have been waiting for The Secret Keeper to arrive on my doorstep!! Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

  6. Kathleen Kelly
    on Sep 23rd at 10:05 am

    I don’t need to be entered because I have all three of your books, I just want to say that I loved the article, very interesting. I think those old castles hold a lot of memories and events and maybe a ghost or two!!!

  7. Elysium
    on Sep 23rd at 11:51 am

    I learned a lot from this castle and great post!
    If the giveaway is worldwide I’d love a chance for it 🙂


  8. Janet Estridge
    on Sep 23rd at 12:10 pm

    I would love to win these books for my church library. Thanks for the giveaway.

  9. Lisa Medeiros
    on Sep 23rd at 1:35 pm

    Would love to win this series! Loved the first book! They are hard to find in Ontario…. Loved reading about castles 🙂 hopefully someday I will be able to see one in person! What are you writing now?

  10. Helen Hollick
    on Sep 23rd at 3:00 pm

    as always with your posts Sandra – informative, interesting and inspiring! Thanks for sharing

  11. Nicole Laverdure
    on Sep 23rd at 3:43 pm

    I love historical novels, specially stories of Queen and her entourage!Sandra, your three novels seems very interesting and captivating to read. I would love to review them too!I have a profile on Goodreads!

  12. Maxie
    on Sep 23rd at 10:21 pm

    I would sure love to win this series of your books. I love the coves and your pictures. Love looking at Castles but never got to visit one. I think that would be neat Please put me in the drawing. MAXIE

  13. Kathryn Swartz
    on Sep 24th at 5:26 am

    Yes, I do believe we should visit Allington Castle. We should see it for what is was and what it is now. I would love to see it. Thank you.

  14. Karen R
    on Sep 24th at 9:18 am

    Amazing how old some of the castles are and still kept up. Thanks for the interesting history~ would love to visit there someday. Enjoyed reading this series through our local library & recommended them to others. Would love to own them. 🙂

  15. Denise Duvall
    on Sep 24th at 6:52 pm

    I love the Tudor windows with the window seats. Thank you for the giveaway.

  16. Debra Brown
    on Sep 27th at 10:54 am

    The pictures add to the visual images that I had conjured up from reading Meg’s story- which makes me realize that you painted pictures with words nicely. (No need to enter me in the giveaway as I have all three books.)

    Thank you for joining in on the blog hop- and for giving us the idea, too!


  17. Kerry Lamond
    on Sep 29th at 3:08 am

    Meg truly was a Best Friend Forever!

  18. Deborah Swift
    on Sep 29th at 10:46 am

    I’ve never visited this castle – I live too far north, but it looks wonderful from your pictures. Lovely blog too.

  19. Margaret Skea
    on Sep 29th at 2:48 pm

    Yet another place I want to go! Lovely post, shared and tweeted.

  20. Stephanie
    on Oct 2nd at 9:59 am

    Lovely article on Allington – it’s wonderful to see that people still want to preserve the history of these beautiful castles!

    And thanks for the giveaway! Would love to add this set to my library!

  21. sandrabyrd
    on Oct 7th at 1:07 pm drew a number and Susan Heim is the winner! Susan, I’ll be in touch for a mailing address and thank you all for stopping by…