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The ancient north Kent village where a young Henry VIII loved to joust

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Original article from Kent Live

King Henry VIII has left traces of his past all throughout Kent.

The village of Lullingstone, tucked away in the beautiful countryside, is one such location and sits right next to the River Darent.

It is mostly known for its 15th Century castle, having the finest excavation of a Roman Villa in Britain, as well as its Country Park.

It is even thought an Iron Age hill fort sat on the hill above the castle, once upon a time.

One of the most intriguing facts about this beautiful village, however, is its connection Henry VIII.

The tranquil Lullingstone Country Park has a renowned collection of ancient trees, spectacular wildflower displays and countryside walks.

The trees are thought to be around 800 years old, and the chalk grassland there homes an amazing display of orchids.

This is one of the many spectacular gems of the beautiful county village.

Lullingstone Castle

Lullingstone Castle and its gatehouse

The 15th Century castle is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086.

It is the oldest family estate in England, since 1497 it has been home to the Peche family.

The magnificent building looks out across a 15-acre lake, and is accessed through a large gatehouse.

It was a young King Henry VIII that came to Lullingstone, where he was entertained by John Peche.

A painting of Henry VIII Henry the Eighth

It was John that set up a jousting ground outside the gatehouse, that drew the attention of Henry VIII.

The medieval sport sees two horsemen wielding lances, essentially a large pole, with blunted tips at one another.

The aim of the martial game, is to ride towards the opponent at a high speed, with the intention of either breaking the opponents lance, or unhorsing him.

Henry VIII loved the brutal sport so much that John became a favourite courtier of the King.

Leeds Castle jousting

But Henry VIII wasn't the only royal to set foot in Lullingstone Castle.

What is seen today of the building, was built for a visit by Queen Anne, with the dining room and library decorated in a Queen Anne elegance.

The state bedroom on the the first floor, beyond the drawing room with the exquisitely detailed plaster ceiling, lies the bed in which Queen Anne slept in.

Finest Roman villa in Britain

Lullingstone Roman Villa

The Lullingstone Roman Villa was discovered in 1939, and is believed to have been built in 100AD.

It contains some of the finest excavated remains of a Roman Villa in the whole of Britain.

The incredible discovery even displays some of the earliest evidence of Christianity in Britain, with the site of the Romano-Christian chapel.

Members of the public can actually go and see the villa in all its glory, from May 17.

It is said that people can still view the spectacular mosaics and prints of the rare wall paintings, a heated bath-suite, and a "house church".

Original Article