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Guidebook: Old Wardour Castle


Product Code: 17026

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This remarkable hexagonal castle in a remote valley in Wiltshire was built in the late 1390s for John, the 5th Lord Lovell, one of the richest barons in Englnad and a kinsman of Richard II (r.1377-99). Lovell's castle, now in partial ruin, was then as sophisticated as any building in Europe, its design drawing on the king's magnificent new Westminster Hall, begun that same year. Wardour was a symbol of Lovell's status, his closeness to Richard II's opulent court, his wealth and his cultural sophicstication.

By 1578, however, the new owner of the castle, Sir Matthew Arundell, saw the need to modernize it. He had one of the leading mason-architects of his day, Robert Smythson, convert it into an up-to-date Elizabethan residence; but less than 70 years later it was partially blown up in the Civil War.

Wardour was never reconstructed after this disaster. Instead Arundell's 18th-century descendants turned it into a romantic ruin, embellishing it and creating a surrounding parkland and lake. The resulting combination of medieval splendour, Elizabethan enrichment and Georgian landscaping makes it one of the most memorable of the properties administered by English Heritage.

Key Features:

  • Publication date: May 2012
  • Paperback,48pp
  • 98 illustrations

Size: 285mm x 160mm
Author: Mark Girouard
ISBN: 9781848021051

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Guidebook: Old Wardour Castle