This particular Blog is about Old Wardour Castle in Dorset, UK - a favourite place of mine - visited both solo and with a multitude of friends over the past twenty years. I now live further away from Old Wardour, so travelling there is more of a planned event, as opposed to a spontaneous event.
A brief history of Old Wardour Castle:
Old Wardour Castle is situated in the peaceful Wiltshire countryside, surrounded in part by a ‘horseshoe’ of woodland and to the south, a tree bordered lake with medieval parkland beyond.
Built in the 1390‘s for John, Baron Lovell, it was one of the most daring and imaginative homes in Britain; designed for comfortable living and lavish entertainment. The castle’s construction was in a large part made possible - both financially and politically - by Lovell’s close association with Richard II. In the 1570‘s it was altered by the mason Robert Smythson and even in it’s present, ruined state, it remains a place of grandeur and great atmosphere.
The history of Old Wardour Castle is bloody as well as colourful. During the English Civil War, Thomas Arundell, 2nd Baron Arundell of Wardour, was away from home on the King’s business and had asked his wife, Lady Blanche Arundell, to defend the castle with a garrison of 25 trained fighting men.
On 2nd May 1644 Sir Edward Hungerford, with 1,300 men of the Parliamentarian Army, demanded admittance to search for Royalists. He was refused and laid siege to the castle, turning his guns on the walls. After five days of a hard-fought seige, the castle’s life was to take a drametic turn after a mine was detonated beneath the great tower, threatening the complete destruction of the castle. As a result, Lady Blanche agreed to surrender. The Parliamentarians duly broke this treaty and the inhabitants were murdered. It is said that the ghost of Lady Arundell still haunts the castle.
Old Wardour Castle featured in the 1991 movie ‘Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves’ and the cover image of Sting's album ‘Ten Summoner's Tales was’ photographed inside the hexagonal courtyard.
Old Wardour Castle is a place of atmosphere, intrigue and wonder. It's mood is different on almost every visit and while it may feel benign and welcoming on one day, it is equally capable of giving you the fear!
More updates will be available soon with another, winter visit.