Many people at the time questioned what would happen to the castle but its significance was recognised and it was kept as a monument.

Meetings (religious services) were held in the castle grounds and was also used for the grazing of sheep. The shepherds cottage was situated on the saddleback, the long ridge behind the castle, where in medieval times, knights in armour jousted.

The salvation Army gave the castle to the ministry of works in 1948, and it is now cared for by English Heritage, and is classed as a scheduled monument and a Grade 1 listed building.  

- Information board, on site at Hadleigh castle

Welcome to Hadleigh Castle

In the 1230s,  Hurbert de Burgh, Earl of Kent, spent great sums of money building Hadleigh Castle. But he was unable to enjoy his new castle for long.

In 1215 King John gave this area of land, known as the manor of Hadleigh, along with many other gifts to Hurbert de Burgh, his chief minister of justicar. Hubertwas a trusted follower of the King, and was the custodian of two important  royal castles at Windsor and Dover. At Dover he was soon to prove his great military skill by successfully defending the castle during a fierce siege in 1216. 

Effectively ruler of England during young Henry III’s childhood, Hubert  built this large turreted castle as a statement of his power. His successful career came to an end after quarrels with the King, and he was forced to return his lands, including Hadleigh in 1239.  

The castle remained in royal hands, but it was not until the time of Edward II, nearly 100 years later, that the King began to use the castle as a residence. 

- Information board, on site at Hadleigh castle

A castle fit for a King

Edward III was the first kind to see the strategic importance of Hadleigh castle - it was ideally situated as a base for defending the Thames estuary against the french raids during the Hundred Years War. 

Edward’s claim to the French throne had led to the war with France. The need for a more systematic defence of the Thames estuary led to the king to refurbish ad extend Hadleigh Castle and to build Queenborough castle on the opposite kent shore. 

Edward III’s successors took little interest in the castle as a residence, after being leased to a succession of tenants, the castle was sold to Lord Riche in 1551, who sold it off as building materials. During the demolition a tiled hearth was built into the floor of the hall, to melt down the valuable window leads. 

- Information board, on site at Hadleigh castle