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History Highlights Podcasts04 July 2021

Happy Independence Day – Leeds Castle’s American Connections

Leeds Castle has had continuous American connections dating back to the 17th century.

In 1649 King Charles II granted more than 5 million acres of land in Virginia to Lord Culpeper who owned Leeds Castle at the time.

By 1681 the Castle was inherited by Thomas, Lord Culpeper, who was the Governor of Virginia from 1677 to 1683.

Leeds Castle and the lands in Virginia were inherited by the Fairfax family in 1719 and later in 1749 a sundial was commissioned at the Castle which told the time in Virginia!

The Castle was owned by the Fairfax family until 1806 when it was transferred to a local syndicate for £14,000.

Over 100 years later the connections continued when Leeds Castle was acquired by the Anglo-American heiress the Hon. Olive Paget, then Mrs Wilson-Filmer, who was looking for a country retreat in Kent. She saw the Castle’s potential and had the style, imagination and funds to carry out the necessary modifications.

Lady Baillie died in 1974 and left the Castle and grounds to a specially created charity called the Leeds Castle Foundation, whose main aim was, and still is, to preserve the Castle for future generations to enjoy.

In recent times Leeds Castle has been a very popular destination for American visitors and once international restrictions begin to ease we look forward to welcoming many more in the years to come.