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Wardour,  Wiltshire  -  Old Wardour Castle
14th century

Click on photos to enlarge
Notes in italics from Wiltshire by Nikolaus Pevsner Revised by Bridget Cherry (1975)
Yale University Press, New Haven and London


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East South South-West North-West North

These are the orientations used in the Pevsner quotes below.
In fact, what is called East is more precisely north-east, and so on around the structure.

Licence to crenellate was granted to John Lord Lovel of Titchmarsh in 1393. The castle he built is beautifully situated up a wooded bank above a lake made in the C18 ... The plan of the castle is basically hexagonal with an intersecting, rectangular front section.  The E front of the castle itself has a recessed centre with an archway and short projecting side wings. ... The hall is on the upper floor above the archway ... The ranges round the hexagonal courtyard remain only to the N and S, but stumps of walling show clearly that a W range has existed also. (This was blown out in an explosion during a Civil War siege of 1644) ... In the projecting wings are two-light mullioned windows, the lights with depressed arches - C16 no doubt, and probably Sir Matthew's, though conservative for the 1570s. The windows are on four levels and are oddly distributed (due to a spiral staircase in the SE projection). The same type of window continues along the three sides to the S, also four storeys high. There is also a minor arched doorway (N side).



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North-west tower: Spiral stair, moulded frieze. South-east spiral staircase. South-side turret and frieze. 

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 Entering through the archway from the E, one passes at once through the Arundell portal with columns intermittently blocked. A coat of arms is above the portal, and above this the head of Christ in a niche with the inscription: 'Sub nomine tuo stet genus et domus'. Contemporary shell-headed niches to the l. and r. ... As one enters the archway in the front one recognizes the springers of the fan-vault, an early example, if it is of 1393. ... Tunnel-vaulted rooms l. and r. .. Above, the great hall has two tall windows (to the front and to the courtyard). They originally had transoms, and perhaps two trefoiled lights.


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Most of the windows in the courtyard have the same depressed-arched lights as those to the outside, but in the W wall one Perp two-light window is revealed. .. The main staircase up to the hall (from the courtyard) is Arundell work and is entered by passing through a portal with attached Roman Doric columns and a metope frieze. Lions' heads in the spandrels of the arch. ... By the staircase the hall was reached. This has a fireplace in the W wall and a fleuron frieze below the tall windows, continuing at a higher level along the N wall. This was the Dais end. ..


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To the S the wall is bare. On this side access must have been made to the offices. The kitchens were beyond, in the S range. .. To the courtyard they are marked by two very tall lancet windows with cusped arches. ..

W of the former W range, on the outer bailey wall, is a two-storeyed Late Georgian Gothic summer house (1773-4). The windows have ogee heads. (It was built in 1773-4, at the same time as the new Wardour Castle which can just be glimpsed in the top picture, upper right-hand corner).
E of the E range is a grotto .. made in 1792.


Links:

Map

Original structure - 3D images

Castle History - a detailed history of the castle

Castle Access information

 
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