Anstey Castle is a traditional motte and bailey Norman castle and is located in the village of Anstey in Hertfordshire. The castle is thought to have been built soon after the Norman conquest by Eustace, Count of Boulogne who was given the manor.
The castle was leased to Eustace’s subtenants who took the name de Anstey, which they adopted from the name of the village. Nicholas de Anstey strengthened the castle during the Barons Wars in order to defend against attacks by King John’s forces but was subsequently forced to destroy these additions once peace returned.
Soon after this, it would seem the castle at Anstey passed to the crown. It is widely documented that Henry VIII granted the castle at Anstey to three of his wives (Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn and Jayne Seymour). The castle then passed into private hands.
There are no remnants of the actual castle itself left, except for the motte, a wet ditch that surrounds the motte and the earthworks of the bailey. It is believed the construction of the castle would have originally been out of wood and that it was rebuilt in stone later. It has been suggested that stone from the castle was used in the construction of the local church which sits in front of the castle motte to this day.
Anstey Castle can be accessed via a footpath besides the church.