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Medieval Castles: Old Wardour Castle

Old Wardour Castle - English Heritage - Medieval Castles - Middle Ages History - Medieval History - Medieval EnglandOld Wardour Castle, located near Tisbury in the English county of Wiltshire, sits on a slight rise above a lake and was once the home of Baron John Lovell, the fifth Baron Lovell. John Lovell acquired the land from the St. Martin family when Sir Lawrence de St. Martin died in 1385, and John built the home, with the permission of King Richard II, more as a luxurious residence than a fortified castle. Constructed of locally quarried greensand, with master mason William Wynford overseeing the project, the castle was fashioned after the hexagonal style then popular on the Continent, particularly in France, making its architecture unique to Britain.

In the 16th century, the residence passed from the Lovell family to the Arundell family, purchased by Sir Thomas Arundell of Lanherne in 1544. Under the ownership of a strong Roman Catholic family, Wardour Castle witnessed many battles during the English Civil War. In 1643, the Parliamentarian Army forced Lady Blanche Arundell to surrender the castle. In turn, Lady Blanche’s son, Henry 3rd with his Royalist Army beseiged the castle, destroyed a good portion of it, and in March 1644, the Parliamentarian garrison surrended, returning the castle to the Arundell family.

Today, English Heritage manages the castle, a ruinous shell of its once former glory. Still, much of the castle remains intact and is open to the public. Old Wardour Castle was one of the filming locations used for the 1991 Kevin Costner film Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.

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