Herstmonceux Castle is situated in East Sussex the build was commissioned by Sir Roger de Fiennes. Sir Roger was appointed Treasurer of the Household of Henry VI, and needed a house fitting a man of his position; construction of the castle on the site of the old manor house began in 1441. Fiennes had Herstmonceux Castle built not so much as a stronghold but more along the lines of a grand baronial mansion, the walls being constructed of the newly-fashionable brick rather than stone, and decorated with green sandstone.
The Castle is surrounded by a moat so wide that it looks as though it has been built on an island in the middle of a lake. The property passed through the hands of a number of private owners until it was sold in 1946 to the British Admiralty, who converted it into the new home of the Royal Greenwich Observatory. The site subsequently served as an important scientific institution for over 40 years. The Estate still provides housing for the Newton Telescope and the Equatorial Telescope Buildings, which have been converted to an interactive science centre for schoolchildren.
Herstmonceux Castle is home to a number of ghosts, including a nine foot tall drummer. The giant ghost has been seen on the battlements of the castle and is thought to either be a soldier who was killed at Agincourt or Lord Dacre. Local legend says that the eccentric Lord hammered on a drum in order to keep lovers away from his young wife. She eventually became so annoyed with him that she locked him in a tiny room and left him to die. The sound of his drum could still be heard long after his death and kept her lovers away. A phantom horse rider is also presumed to be Lord Dacre his ghost has been seen galloping across nearby fields.
During the eighteenth century, a young girl is said to have been imprisoned in the castle and was starved to death. Sounds of her sobbing are still heard in parts of the Castle and her ghost is seen usually at night, wandering the corridors.
The grounds of the castle are also haunted by a lady in white. Legend says that she was lured to the castle by Sir Roger de Fienes, who promptly had his wicked way with her and then killed her. Her ghost has been seen walking around the grounds of the castle's moat in a very distressed state. The lady in white's ghost has also been witnessed inside the castle close to the gatehouse.