Leeds Castle is in Kent, England, 5 miles (8 km) southeast of Maidstone. A castle has been on the site since 1119. In the 13th century it came into the hands of King Edward I, for whom it became a favourite residence; in the 16th century, Henry VIII used it as a dwelling for his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. The castle today dates mostly from the 19th century and is built on islands in a lake formed by the River Len to the east of the village of Leeds. It has been open to the public since 1976.
From 857 the site was owned by a Saxon chief called Led or Leed who built a wooden structure on two islands in the middle of the River Len. In 1119 Robert de Crevecoeur rebuilt it in stone as a Norman stronghold and Leeds Castle descended through the de Crevecoeur family until the 1260s. What form this Norman stronghold took is uncertain because it was rebuilt and transformed in the following centuries. Adrian Pettifer speculates that it may have been a motte and bailey.