A break from my Big Cat & African Safari photos. On my way down to Hythe I called in Leeds Castle near Ashford.
Leeds Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in England and is often referred to as 'the loveliest castle in the World'. Leeds Castle has a chequered history which moves from its construction as an earthwork enclosure with wooden pallisades to a Motte and Bailey castle in the style of a Donjon by William the Conqueror to a fortified stone fortress built by King Edward I (r.1272-1307). William the Conqueror used enforced Anglo-Saxon labour for work on the construction of Leeds Castle. The original wooden castle was replaced by a fortified stone castle in 1119. An important feature of Leeds Castle is its access to the River Len. During the re-construction of Leeds Castle men by King Edward I equipment and building materials were transported by boats to the site of the castle. Once Leeds Castle had been built built fresh supplies, provisions and reinforcements prevented the castle occupants from being starved into submission during siege warfare. The decline of the feudal system saw castles built as fortified strongholds were no longer owned by feudal lords (this was seen as a risk to the monarchy). At this point in history King Henry VIII converted the castle into a Royal palace.
Leeds Castle is situated on the River Len where it was built on two adjacent islands. The name Leeds originates from the name of a chief minister of King Ethelbert IV ( 856-860) called Ledian ( it is not associated with the city of Leeds! )