Castles in Central England

Sudeley Castle

SudeleySudeley Castle is one of the few castles left in England that is still a private residence. The present structure was built in the 15th century by Ralph Boteler, Baron Sudeley, using money earned fighting in France during the Hundred Year’s War. During the War of the Roses, the castle was given to the Duke of Gloucester, who later became Richard III.

He used the castle as a base for the Battle of Tewkesbury. The chapel, St. Mary's Sudeley, is the burial place of Queen Katherine Parr (1512–1548), the sixth wife of King Henry VIII, and contains her marble tomb. After Henry’s death, the Dowager Queen Katherine married Thomas Seymour, Baron of Sudeley. Queen Elizabeth I was entertained three times at the castle.

Following its ‘slighting’ on Cromwell’s orders at the end of the Civil War, Sudeley lay neglected and derelict for nearly 200 years, until rescued by wealthy Worcester glove-makers, brothers John and William Dent, who began an ambitious restoration programme.

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Nearest Club Site: Winchcombe

Warwick Castle

WarwickDeveloped from a fortification built by William the Conqueror in 1068 to help control the Midlands, Warwick was rebuilt in stone in the 12th century. Under the ownership of Richard Neville – also known as "Warwick the Kingmaker" – Warwick Castle was used in the 15th century to imprison the English King, Edward IV. Queen Elizabeth I visited the castle in 1566 during a tour of the country, and again in 1572 for four nights.

In 1604, the ruinous castle was given to Sir Fulke Greville by King James I and was converted into a country house. During the civil war, the castle was held by Parliament while besieged by Royalists in 1642. Now operated by Merlin Entertainments, the castle is one of Britain’s top historic houses and visitor attractions.

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Nearest Club Site: Clent Hills

Tattershall Castle

TatershallTattershall Castle has its origins as a stone castle or a fortified manor house, built by Robert de Tattershall in 1231. It was largely rebuilt in brick and greatly expanded by Ralph, 3rd Lord Cromwell and Treasurer of England, between 1430 and 1450. Brick was chosen as a building material for its aesthetic appeal and because it was fashionable. Some 700,000 bricks were used to build the castle.

The most impressive part of Tattershall Castle is the 130ft red brick tower keep. The five storey rectangular keep has octagonal corner turrets and is surrounded by two moats, creating an outer bailey divided into two wards.

This contains the ruins of a brick built stable block in the outer ward and a two storey brick guardhouse. It remains one of the most important surviving brick castles of the mid-fifteenth century.

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Nearest Club Site: Woodhall Spa

Bolingbroke Castle

BolingbrokeBolingbroke Castle was built by Randulph de Blundeville, Earl of Chester, around 1220, after returning from the Fifth Crusade. The castle is one of the earliest examples of a uniform castle designed and built without a keep.

It was originally surrounded by a large water-filled moat 31 metres (102 ft) wide. The curtain wall was up to 5 metres (16 ft) thick and defended by five D-shaped towers and a twin-towered gate house. The castle passed to the House of Lancaster in 1311 and Henry Bolingbroke. The future King Henry IV was born at Bolingbroke Castle in 1366. Bolingbroke was garrisoned by Royalist forces during the Civil War and was partially destroyed in 1643.

In 1652, the castle was "slighted" to prevent any further use. The towers and walls were torn down and dumped into the moat. The castle is now in ruins.

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Nearest Club Site: Woodhall Spa
Image supplied by English Heritage