near Wardour, Wiltshire, England
Situated 15 miles from the city of Salisbury, Old Wardour Castle is set in a countryside location beside a lake.
The ruins of the virtually destroyed castle are now integrated into the surrounding parkland of the 'New Wardour House' but consist solely of part of the main building with its beautiful arched windows.
The new castle was built as a Neoclassical house rather than a castle, with a symmetrical main block, central staircase hall and two wings.
The castle and shop are open daily from 10am from April until October and at weekends between November and March.
Included in the price of the entrance ticket is an audio tour telling of the castles eventful past, visitors will also be able to climb to the top of the turrets and re-enact scenes from one of the recent films that have been made there.
The New Wardour House is not open to the public.
The castle was built by the St Martin family in 1392 using local Tisbury greensand; a green sandstone rock.
It was built by master mason William Wynford in an unusual design with six sides, similar to those in continental Europe. In 1461 the castle was confiscated and after passing through many hands was bought by the Arundell’s, an ancient Cornish family. The castle was once again confiscated when Sir Thomas Arundell was executed in 1552 for treason, but his son Matthew was able to buy back the castle some time later.
During the Civil War the lady of the house, Lady Blanche aged 61, was alone with her husband was away on the King’s business, when the parliamentarians came looking for Royalists. The castle was subjected to a five day siege after which she was forced to surrender before the castle was totally destroyed.
In 1644 Henry, 3rd Lord Arundell retaliated by blowing up what remained of the castle and causing the parliamentarian garrison to surrender. Henry then went about borrowing money to have the castle rebuilt, but instead employed James Paine to build ‘New Wardour Castle’ in a Palladian style, leaving the old castle as a feature within the grounds.
Both Old Wardour and the New Wardour House have been used as film sets, Old Wardour in ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’, staring Kevin Costner in 1991, and New Wardour as the Community Hall in the film Billy Elliot with Julie Walters in 2000.
Other Castles in the Area
Nunney Castle, Somerset
Old Sarum, Wiltshire