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 Castles of England - Alton Castle

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Alton, Staffordshire, England

Alton Castle is located off Castle Hill Road in the village of Alton, Staffordshire - about 15 miles east of Stoke-on-Trent . The castle is also known as Alverton Castle or Aulton Castle. The castle was protected to the north by a cliff and to the south by a rock-cut ditch and curtain wall. The twin-tower gatehouse was at the west end of the south curtain and there were two large wall towers towards the centre of the curtain wall. The Eastern Wall Tower is a square open backed tower with a battered base, and tower corners are chamfered. The angle between tower and curtain wall is corbelled at parapet level. The 13th century Western Wall Tower is D-shaped and only the foundations remain. The early 13the century Gatehouse towers survive to a height of about ten feet. There was originally a portcullis in the gatehouse and the lower part of a portcullis groove of square section survives.

Alton Castle was originally a medieval castle, built in about 1175 by Bertram de Verdun, the founder of Croxden Abbey. Alton Castle was founded by Bertram de Verdon and built on a hill overlooking the River Churnet in the 12th century. It was remodeled during the 15th century and subsequently was damaged during the Civil War. The Castle was rebuilt as a large Gothic-style house between 1847 and 1852 by A.W.N. Pugin as country house for the 16th Earl of Shrewsbury.

The school on the site was taken over by the Sisters of Mercy in 1855 and the presbytery became their convent. The castle remained a private residence until 1919 when the Sisters of Mercy brought it to extend their boarding school. The school closed in 1989 and the castle was left empty until the Archdiocese of Birmingham purchased the building in 1995 and opened it as a Catholic Youth Retreat Centre in 1996. The remains of the castle are a Grade I listed building, and a scheduled ancient monument.

Other Castles in the Area
  Chartley Castle, Staffordshire
  Tutbury Castle, Staffordshire

Tutbury Castle
Alton Castle sits on top of a hill overlooking the Churnet Valley, with spectacular views on all sides.

Photograph by Dennis Thorley. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

Tutbury Castle
Alton Castle from Red Road

Photograph by Dennis Thorley. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

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