The Saxon manor of Esledes was an ideal place for the descendant of one of William the Conqueror’s lords, Robert de Crevecoeur, to fortify and build a castle in 1119. Leeds Castle passed into royal hands in 1278 and became part of the Queen of England’s dower – the settlement widowed queens received upon the death of their husbands. Over the course of 150 years it was held by six mediaeval queens: Eleanor of Castile, Margaret of France, Isabella of France, Joan of Navarre, Anne of Bohemia and Catherine de Valois.
In Tudor times Henry VIII visited frequently, notably with his Queen, Catherine of Aragon, and their entire court on the way to the tournament of the Field of the Cloth of Gold, which took place in France in 1520. Henry’s son, King Edward VI, granted the castle to one of Henry’s courtiers for his services. Since then it has been in private ownership. It has been used as a garrison, a prison and a convalescent home, as well as being the home of the Culpeper, Fairfax and Wykeham Martin families. It was refurbished in the 1920s by Lady Baillie, an American heiress, and is now maintained by the Leeds Castle Foundation for the benefit and enjoyment of the public.
Entertainment and Speakers : Our speaker on the evening is Mrs Victoria Wallace, Chief Executive of Leeds Castle. We will be entertained before the dinner by ‘All that Malarky’
All that Malarky: David Harrington, composer/arranger/accompanist; Amy Fuller, soprano; Frances Gregory, soprano; Colin Bryce, tenor; Eleias Roberts, tenor.
David Harrington is a composer, accompanist and music director currently studying at RWCMD. David has had works commissioned and performed by a huge range of ensembles and soloists including the Lunar Sax Quartet, BBC string quartet, Rosie Biss (WNO), the Erato Piano trio as well as Philip Cobb, Richard Marshall (LSO), Owen Farr and David Childs (Cory Band). He currently resides as composer-in-residence to the Sinfonia Newydd Ensemble and as MD of the All that Malarkey Cabaret ensemble.
On the Saturday there will be the added attraction of a day of cars organised in aid of the Children’s Fund by the Sporting Bears Motoring Group – with around 500 classic and sports cars turning up on display. These classic and sports car enthusiasts will be there displaying their cars and offering ‘Dream Rides’ around the countryside. There will also be a Sea King Helicopter on display and car related attractions.
Itinerary of evening:
18:00 Guests arrive for those wanting guided tours of the Castle
18:30 Champagne reception with ‘All that Malarky’
20:15 Dinner in the Henry VIII Banqueting Hall
00:30 Carriages, guests depart
Tickets still available at £200 per head, tables of 10 for £2000.