Hever Castle & Gardens, in the perfect setting of the High Weald of Kent and once the seat of the Bullen family, is now also home to the Brookhurst Wentworth natural clay roof tile. It has been specified for the refurbishment of a variety of buildings in the grounds of the Castle including the Courtyard Shop and Head Gardeners offices, both adjacent to the romantic lakeside Loggia and newly refurbished Guthrie Pavilion restaurant.
Spanning more than 700 years the history of Hever Castle is both rich and varied. The original medieval defensive castle, with its gatehouse and walled bailey, was built in 1270. The double-moated castle was the seat of the Bullen family from 1462 – 1529 during the Tudor dynasty and the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, second queen consort of King Henry VIII of England. The Castle later came into the possession of his fourth wife Anne of Cleves.
“The roof tiles look really very good indeed and blend beautifully within this established site,” comments chief executive Duncan Leslie, Hever Castle Limited. “In fact, the roof tiles used on a more recent building adjacent to the refurbished Courtyard Shop are quite inappropriate by comparison. Eventually we would hope to replace them with the Brookhurst Wentworth.
“This tile has an authentic hand crafted appearance which immediately looks far better than the more commonly available machine made versions. It would have been very expensive and difficult to source a number of authentic reclaimed tiles to complete this project so the Wentworth is a great find.”
Brookhurst tiles are made from the highest quality clay material using traditional hand moulding and coal firing techniques. Whilst these glorious traditions are maintained, Brookhurst tiles meet the highest technical standards and are fully compliant with BSEN 538 and 539 test standards for strength, durability and weather protection.
“This is another successful project on which the Brookhurst hand-made tile has been specified and we are proud of the traditional aesthetic that it has helped to create,” says Iain Webster, director of Sahtas UK Limited, distributor of Brookhurst tiles, bricks and paviours. “It is a small project by many standards but few have this hallmark of authenticity.”
Brookhurst clay roof tiles are hand-made following the traditional methods that have evolved since the 3rd millennium BC. Blocks of selected clay from a private quarry are thrown on to sanded wooden moulds, cut, flattened and shaped by skilled hands. The tiles are fired in coal-fired kilns at 1070° for more than six days and then cooled slowly.
The soft sand granulation on the tile surface allows the tiles to weather and mellow rapidly; this aging gives the impact of a matured roof in a very short time. The artisan skills of Brookhurst production has also founded a vast inventory of bespoke designs, intricate and unique shapes and varied components with refined colour matches essential where extensive renovation is undertaken with conservation regulations in place. Brookhurst offers this bespoke facility alongside the high quality, high capacity plain tile supply chain.
Brookhurst tiles reflect the elegance of tradition coupled with the highest technical performance worldwide. They exceed frost test standards to offer over 100 years of protection, supreme flexural strength test standards, and advanced permeability testing, to provide a waterproof building with a 30 year manufacturing guarantee.
Polegate Roofing Limited, East Sussex, a specialist roofing contractor serving the counties of Sussex and Kent and a member of the Guild of Master Craftsmen, carried out the tile application. “We take on all types of tile and slate roofing projects and specialise in re-roofing works to older properties such as churches, manor houses, period and listed buildings,” says Ian Mepham, director.
“We were immediately impressed with the colour, quality and durability of the Brookhurst tile, not to mention an extremely competitive price. We have increasingly specified the Wentworth since using it on the Hever Estate and we always receive good feedback which we attribute to the aesthetic of the tile. The Brookhurst range of tiles and fittings blend well with reclaimed tiles, blending old with new, for a weathered and authentic appearance, even to new roofs.”
Of note the Astor family were owners of Hever Castle for 80 years from 1903 and made many important and notable additions, in particular that of the the Astor wing and the Anne Boleyn Wing, originally the Tudor Village, which is attached to the Castle and connected inside. The Village was commissioned by American millionaire William Waldorf Astor.