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Castle History

For the past 500 years and more people have been visiting Herstmonceux Castle to admire its impressive design, its unique brickwork, beautiful gardens and setting within the Sussex landscape. Its visitors include the likes of Horace Walpole, William Wilberforce, J.M.W. Turner, King George V, Virginia Wolf, Diana Cooper, Violet Bonham Carter, Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Patrick Moore, Stephen Hawking and Queen Elizabeth II. It has attracted writers and artists, tourists and antiquaries, aristocrats and debutantes, soldiers and scientists. Today it continues to attract students interested in actively participating in a unique learning experience in an international setting.

1441 Roger Fiennes, a Sussex Knight, petitions the Crown for the right to "crenellate" or fortify his manor Herstmonceux.
1541 Sir Thomas Fiennes, Lord Dacre, is tried and executed for murder, and robbery of the King's deer, after his poaching exploits on a neighboring estate implicate him in the death of a gamekeeper. The estate is confiscated by King Henry VIII.
1558 - 1603 Reign of Queen Elizabeth I - during which time the estate is returned to the Fiennes family.
1642 - 1651 English Civil War - renovations are carried out to the Castle and the extremes of the 1640s are avoided.
1660 - 1685 The Restoration Period - a significant amount of money is spent refurbishing the castle including new fireplaces and elaborate oak carvings by Grinling Gibbons.
1708 Excessive gambling, the cost of renovations, and the lavish merriment of the 15th Baron Dacre (heir to the Fiennes family) bankrupt the family and the estate is sold to George Naylor for £38,000 (approximately £4 million in 2018).
1777 Samuel Wyatt, a well-known architect, pronounces the castle to be in such a poor state of repair that it is not worth saving. Furniture is sold off, the wood paneling removed, and the interior walls torn down.
1910 The eccentric MP Colonel Claude Lowther purchases the estate with a view to restoring the castle to its former glory and creating a grand country home. Extensive restorations are undertaken and the southern half of the castle is transformed.
1933 Sir Paul Latham purchases the castle and the architect Walter Godfrey continues the process of reconstruction, completing the remodeling of the northern half of the castle. Extensive work is also undertaken on the gardens and grounds, with the addition of a tennis court, a swimming pool, extensive plantings and the excavation and flooding of the moat.
1939 - 1945 Second World War - during which time the Hearts of Oak insurance company relocates to the castle to avoid the Blitz in London. An RAF camp, part of RAF Wartling, is also established on the estate.
1946 Sir Paul Latham sells Herstmonceux Castle to the Admiralty.
1957 The Royal Greenwich Observatory is established at Herstmonceux.
1988 The Royal Greenwich Observatory moves to Cambridge and the estate closes.
1993 Drs. Alfred and Isabel Bader purchase the castle and donate it to Queen's University - Alfred's alma mater.
1994 After extensive renovations the International Study Centre at Herstmonceux Castle opens to students.
2009 The ISC is renamed the Bader International Study Centre.

The Friends of Herstmonceux Castle and the Bader International Study Centre

The Friends of Herstmonceux Castle and the Bader International Study Centre is an association of those with an interest in fostering links between the Castle, the students of the Bader International Study Centre and the wider community.

Originating from a time when the grounds were under threat from commercial redevelopment, the Friends quickly evolved to support the transition to BISC of Queen's University, Ontario and to be a link between the local community and the students, all of whom were a long way from home and most unaccustomed to the life and environment of East Sussex.

Today many students join in local activity and are invited to local homes for an afternoon tea, whilst the Friends of the Castle benefit from invitations to student and castle events.

Bader College (Queen’s University, Canada) is committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment that is fair, positive, and supportive for all members of our community.
We strive to ensure all members’ views are valued and shared in a secure environment through a commitment to upholding equity*, diversity**, inclusion***, and advancing indigenous initiatives.
Bader College supports the fair treatment and opportunity for all by asserting the importance of non-discriminatory treatment either directly or indirectly on the ground of age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.   

*Equity: Substantive fairness for everyone thereby ensuring that members of equity-seeking groups are able to achieve full participation in the university (ader College). 

**Diversity: The representation of the population with respect to designated groups. 

***Inclusion: The climate and acceptance of differences that comes with diversity i.e. different ways of living and working. 

Land acknowledgement: Queen’s University, Canada is situated on Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee Territory.

Bader College
Herstmonceux Castle
Hailsham, East Sussex
United Kingdom, BN27 1RN
Phone: +44 1323 834444
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Undergraduate Admission and Recruitment
Gordon Hall, 74 Union Street
Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario
Canada, K7L 3N6
Phone: (613) 533-2218
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