Old Wardour Castle
I feel like I should be playing the theme music from Robin Hood Prince of Thieves when I talk about Old Wardour. I think I was about thirteen when that movie came out. I can remember going to the cinema again and again to watch it. It was, and has always been, a firm favourite.
I can also remember my friends and I joking about how well travelled Robin was. Robin landed at Dover in Kent, headed up to Hadrian's Wall on the borders of Scotland, back down to Salisbury in Wiltshire before heading to the North, where he fought a big man from Bristol in a river in Yorkshire, and then a quick trip over to France to go to Nottingham Castle!
Old Wardour Castle, in Wilshire, was used on the set of Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. The castle portrayed, Robin's childhood home, Locksley Castle. It also happens to be one of my favourite castles, which is handy because it is only 40 minutes away from where I live!
Old Wardour has a fascinating history. It was built in the 14th Century and was inspired by the continental designs of the time, which is why it is hexagonal. It sits between a picturesque lake and wood. It even has a grotto. However, if you take a little look closer at its wall, you will see it had a troubled past. There are musket holes in the masonry.
|Note the hexagonal shape.|
During the English Civil War (1642-1648) Old Wardour's owners, the Arundell family, were staunch supporters of the King. In 1643, Edward Hungerford, a Parliamentarian, and his men surrounded the castle. Thomas Arundell, 2nd Baron Arundell of Wardour, was away on King's business when Hungerford and his men attacked. Lord Arundell's wife did the best she could to defend the castle, but after only a short siege she had to surrender.
Lord Arundell died and Henry, his son, laid siege to his own castle. Whether he meant to blow it up, I guess we will never really know. Unfortunately, a large part of the castle collapsed. The Parliamentarian's surrendered, and Henry won his castle back. But instead of rebuilding it, the Arundell eventually built a new home in the grounds of the old one.
Nevertheless, it is a great castle to explore. It is not just a hollow shell, as many of these ruins are. You can climb those stairs, you can explore all the room and you can look out the windows at the view.
First published on Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots 24th October 2015
War is coming...
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