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Must-see historical monuments in England

Its history dates back to the 5th century AD and the establishment of the kingdom of the South Saxons after the departure of the Romans. The area houses many interesting monuments and sites that are frequently overlooked by tourists. Here is a list of five must-see destinations in England.

  • Lewes Castle

Lewes Castle is a Norman castle that was built after the Battle of Hastings in 1069 by William de Warenne, 1st Earl of Surrey, brother-in-law of William the Conqueror, in East Sussex. Lewes Castle in East Sussex is a motte and bailey castle. Lewes Castle is unique in its construction because it, unlike most motte and bailey castles, has two mottes. Since 1846, the castle has been owned by the Sussex Archaeological Society. It is open to the public and allows visitors to get a glimpse of what life was like one thousand years ago.

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The Long Man is a figure etched into the slopes of Windover Hill in Wilmington, East Sussex. Locally, the figure has been known as the Green Man or the Wilmington Giant. The Long Man is pictured holding two staves and is about 69 metres tall. Originally, it was thought that the figure dated to the Iron Age or neolithic eras, but recently, archaeological work has revealed that the Long Man may date to the Early Modern era, possibly the 16th or 17th century. No matter the date of its creation, the Long Man of Wilmington is a great destination for a unique experience.

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Herstmonceux Castle is a Tudor castle built entirely of brick. It is one of the oldest, significant buildings in England built of brick, which was not a common building material in England during the Early Modern era, in East Sussex. The castle was built in 1441 by Sir Roger Fiennes, Treasurer of the Household for Henry VI of England. The castle was subsequently destroyed in 1776 and was reduced to only the exterior walls. The house was restored from 1913 to 1933 by architect Walter Godfrey for Sir Paul Latham. Mr. Godfrey worked hard to keep the interior of the castle as authentic as possible, incorporating furnishings from the correct time period. Herstmonceux has a beautiful look and is a reminder of how grand living could be in the 15th century.

Anne of Cleves was the fourth wife of Henry VIII, though she was only queen for six months. Her home in Lewes, East Sussex was part of her annulment settlement from the king in 1541. The Anne of Cleves House was restored by the same architect who restored Herstmonceux Castle, Walter Godfrey. The house is a 15th century timber-framed Wealden hall house, and it contains many artifacts that are of historical importance to the East Sussex area including a hammer from Etchingham Forge and a display on wealden iron making. The Anne of Cleves House is open to the public and plays host to many functions year-round.

Bodiam Castle was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge. Dalyngrigge was a knight of Edward III and was in charge of defending the area from French invasion during the Hundred Years' War, in East Sussex. In 1641, the castle was dismantled, and it was not until the 1800s that it was restored to its former glory. George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston donated the now restored castle to The National Trust upon his death in 1925. The castle is open to the public, and with its large moat and picturesque facade, stepping into Bodiam Castle is like stepping into a fairy tale. 

Whichever one of these wonderful monuments you decide to visit, a good base is Camber Sands, with its huge coastline and peace and tranquility with the historic town of Rye just up the road, or a short walk along the beachy coastline. 

Susanna Daniels is a London-based freelance writer. When she's not writing for the travel sector, her main interests are historical novels, period dramas and, of course, history. 

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