Not too far from Southend on Sea, the breathtaking ruins of an ancient castle rise above the picturesque marshes of Essex.
Hadleigh Castle is a beautiful structure with a fascinating history.
It has stood here for many centuries and was the residence of some of the most powerful men in British history.
Hubert and his Hadleigh
This fortress was first built in the early 13th century by Hubert de Burgh, on land that was given to him by the legendary King John.
Hubert was something of a legend himself: he was capable and respected, so after John died and Henry III was still just a boy, Hubert was the closest thing England had to a real king.
He was well aware of the power he held and decided to show it off by building mighty Hadleigh Castle.
Although only ruins of it remain today, this castle’s impressiveness is still clear: as you wander across the Essex countryside, it’s hard to miss, with its impressive stone towers rising high over the vast green landscape.
However, the good times would not last for Hubert.
When Henry III became older, the two had a fearsome fight, and Hubert was forced to give back all his lands - including Hadleigh Castle.
Fit for a king
After Hubert lost Hadleigh, it was dormant for about 100 years until a very prestigious king took up residence: Edward III.
Edward was the first king who saw the castle’s value as a strategic position.
From here, he could defend the Thames against French raiders during the Hundred Years War, so together with Queensborough Castle on the opposite shore, these fortresses kept England safe.
Yet Edward also loved Hadleigh Castle like a home and spent much of his later years in its great hall.
The foundations of this hall still remain: as you explore them, try to imagine what it must have looked like back then - a tall and impressive room bursting with wealthy nobles, feasting and carousing under the watchful eye of the aging king.
Hadleigh Castle is an inspiring ruin in a truly stunning location.
Whether you visit this place for its rich history or for its gorgeous views, we know you’ll fall in love with it just as Edward did.