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Secrets of Great British Castles

S2-E4 Leeds Castle

S2-E4 Leeds Castle

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Leeds Castle – nothing to do with the Yorkshire city, this is in Kent – is unusual in that its history was shaped not by men but by women. Six queens of England claimed or were gifted the place, while it twice became a prison for women accused of witchcraft. In the 1930s Lady Baillie transformed it into the most glamorous party house, with guests including Hollywood stars, plus Winston Churchill and Ian Fleming.

Dan Jones paints a fascinating portrait of the castle’s satisfyingly obscure past, which makes it all the more disconcerting when he describes in detail what it was like being burnt at the stake. Who knew it involved fire?


Dan Jones explores the 900-year history of Leeds Castle in Kent, from its origins as a royal Saxon family's manor and Norman stronghold to the private property of six medieval queens, a Tudor palace, a Jacobean country house and a Georgian mansion. Its last owner, Lady Olive Baillie, made it a centre of lavish hospitality for leading politicians, international royalty and film stars. When she died in 1974, she bequeathed the castle and grounds to a specially created charitable trust so that future generations could enjoy her home.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Dan Jones
Director Ciara Bresnihan
Director Fiona Fahy
Director Gerry Hoban
Executive Producer Billy McGrath
Executive Producer Abigail Adams
Producer Ciara Bresnihan
Producer Fiona Fahy
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History Documentary

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