Every Castle has a spooky story to tell, and Leeds Castle in Kent is no exception.
If you visit Leeds Castle this Halloween, be sure to visit Barbican - you’ll be standing on the very same spot in which a grisly execution took place on 31st October 1321; exactly 698 years ago this very Halloween. This spooky story begins in 1318, when King Edward II granted Leeds Castle to Sir Batholemew de Badlesmere, an influential nobleman and steward of the Royal Household.
A few years later in October 1321, Edward’s Queen Isabella of France (who has also been named the ‘She-wolf of France’ for her “ruthlessness” by modern historians) approached Leeds Castle with a small army to demand entrance and overnight accommodation.
Shockingly, Badlesmere refused the Queen entry, announcing she must seek accommodation elsewhere. Isabella then proceeded to force entry into the Castle with her army, before the garrison at Leeds Castle opened fire, the arrows killing six of her army. This was treason!
When King Edward II heard of this betrayal, he summoned a large army and swarmed the Castle with such a powerful force that Badlesmere was forced to surrender on the 31st October.
Edward then exacted a savage vengeance, ignoring any pleas for mercy before 13 members of the garrison were hung at the Castle entrance.
One of the 13 men executed was Walter Culpepper – whose family line later became owners of Leeds Castle.