Farnham Castle served for over 800 years as the residence for the Bishops of Winchester. Since its construction in 1138, the castle and its grounds have been in almost continuous occupation, whether as a residence, fortification, Camouflage Development center, or its current life as a heritage site and wedding venue.
It was in 1501 that Richard Fox, a friend of Henry VII, became Bishop of Winchester and therefore moved into Farnham Castle. Fox had first met Henry in France, where they both were in exile during the War of the Roses. A trusted and close companion of the royal family, it was Fox who baptized the future King Henry VIII. Fox remained in his position and residence until his death 27 years later.
Though much of the castle’s Tudor brickwork dates from Fox’s residency, it is a set of uniquely designed steps he had constructed that serve as his lasting legacy. Fox lived to the age of 80 and suffered from failing eyesight in his final years.
Now known as the Blind Bishop’s Steps, Fox instructed they be built to follow a pattern of seven steps, followed by a level space seven strides long, repeated. The Blind Bishop’s Steps allowed Fox, with only the use of counting, to scale the hill between the town and his castle unhindered.
Know Before You Go
There is on-street parking at the bottom of the hill.
The steps are halfway up the footpath on the hill on the right hand side.