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St. Peter's Church



St Peter’s Church, Hever.

The Purbeck marble tomb of Sir Thomas Boleyn

As it is thought that there was no private chapel in Hever Castle (it is too small), it is assumed that the Boleyn family would have used St Peter’s Church for their religious devotions. In 1465, Sir Geoffrey Bullen  (Anne’s great-grandfather), who owned the manor of Hever, was able to founded a chantry at St Peter’s. The north-east chapel, however, seems to have been built sometime after this, perhaps in the very early 16th century. Under the eastern arch between the chapel and chancel is the very worn Purbeck marble tomb-chest of Sir Thomas Bullen, which stands on the old (lower) floor level. The chapel is covered by a slightly strange `four-canted' purlin roof.

Which key events feature St Peter’s Church in the book?

Summer, 2007

  • In the novel the modern day Anne visits Sir Thomas’ grave, having been drawn back to Hever; the place that she came to know as home whilst walking in Anne Boleyn’s shoes. Here we witness a poignant scene in which Anne retrospectively begs Sir Thomas forgiveness for how everything ended, for breaking his heart. It is the last time that the modern day Anne sees Hever, the church or Sir Thomas’ grave.

The real events in history:

  • Sir Thomas was laid to rest in St Peter’s Church having died on 12th March, 1538. Of course, the scene in the novel in which the modern day Anne visits Sir Thomas grave is entirely fictional.

The inscription on Sir Thomas Boleyn’s grave.

Where to go / what to see / where to stand:

  • Go to the church of St Peters’. It is just outside the main entrance to Hever castle. Follow in Anne’s footsteps as she revisits the church and pays her respects at Sir Thomas’s grave. Feel the cold, smooth marble beneath your fingertips and read aloud the inscription on Sir Thomas’s tomb. If you are lucky enough to be alone, feel the silence of the church and image, the modern day Anne hugging her father’s grave as she says ‘sorry’ for all the hurt and the tragic ending.

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