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Arundel Castle

Coordinates: 50°51′22″N 0°33′13″W / 50.85611°N 0.55361°W / 50.85611; -0.55361
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Arundel Castle
Aerial panorama of the castle and its surroundings
General information
LocationArundel, West Sussex
Coordinates50°51′22″N 0°33′13″W / 50.85611°N 0.55361°W / 50.85611; -0.55361
OwnerDuke of Norfolk
Listed Building – Grade I
Designated26 March 1949
Reference no.1027926[1]
Arms of the Duke of Norfolk

Arundel Castle is a restored and remodelled medieval castle in Arundel, West Sussex, England. It was established by Roger de Montgomery in the 11th century. The castle was damaged in the English Civil War and then restored in the 18th and early 19th centuries by Charles Howard, 11th Duke of Norfolk.[2] Further restoration and embellishment was undertaken from the 1890s by Charles Alban Buckler for the 15th Duke.[1]

Since the 11th century, the castle has been the seat of the Earls of Arundel and the Dukes of Norfolk. It is a Grade I listed building.[1]


The original structure was a motte-and-bailey castle. Roger de Montgomery was declared the first Earl of Arundel as the King granted him the property as part of a much larger package of hundreds of manors.[3] Roger, who was a cousin of William the Conqueror, had stayed in Normandy to keep the peace there while William was away in England. He was rewarded for his loyalty with extensive lands in the Welsh Marches and across the country, together with one fifth of Sussex (Arundel Rape). He began work on Arundel Castle in around 1067.[4]

Between 1101 and 1102 the castle was besieged by the forces of Henry I after its holder Robert of Bellême rebelled.[5] The siege ended with the castle surrendering to the king.[5] The castle then passed to Adeliza of Louvain (who had previously been married to Henry I) and her husband William d'Aubigny. Empress Matilda stayed in the castle, in 1139.[4] It then passed down the d'Aubigny line until the death of Hugh d'Aubigny, 5th Earl of Arundel in 1243.[4] John Fitzalan then inherited jure matris the castle and honour of Arundel, by which, according to Henry VI's "admission" of 1433, he was later retrospectively held to have become de jure Earl of Arundel.[6]

The FitzAlan male line ceased on the death of Henry Fitzalan, 12th Earl of Arundel, whose daughter and heiress Mary FitzAlan married Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk in 1555, to whose descendants the castle and earldom passed.[7]

In 1643, during the First English Civil War, the castle was besieged.[8] The 800 royalists inside surrendered after 18 days. Afterwards in 1653 Parliament ordered the slighting of the castle; however "weather probably destroyed more".[9]

Although the castle remained in the hands of the Howard family over the succeeding centuries, it was not their favourite residence, and the various Dukes of Norfolk invested their time and energy into improving other ducal estates, including Norfolk House in London.[10] Charles Howard, 11th Duke of Norfolk, was known for his restoration work and improvements to the castle beginning in 1787.[4] The folly that still stands on the hill above Swanbourne Lake was commissioned by and built for the Duke by Francis Hiorne at this time.[11]

In 1846, Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert, visited Arundel Castle for three days. Henry Howard, 13th Duke of Norfolk, internally remodelled the castle in time for her visit. The architectural firm responsible for design of the furniture was named Morant. The work included a suite of six rooms, built on the second floor of the south-east range at this time.[4]

The 19th-century embellishments had not been completed when this picture was published in 1880.

After the 1846 Royal visit the 15th Duke began re-structuring the castle again from 1875 to 1905. The work, which was done to the designs of Charles Alban Buckler and undertaken by Rattee and Kett of Cambridge, was completed in the late 19th century.[12][13] The 16th Duke had planned to give the castle to the National Trust but following his death in 1975 the 17th Duke cancelled the plan. He created an independent charitable trust to guarantee the castle's future, and oversaw restorative works.[14]

The extensive gardens had received significant improvements by early 2020 through the efforts of head gardener Martin Duncan and his crew. A horticulturalist and landscape designer, Duncan has been working at the Castle since 2009; in 2018, he received the Kew Guild Medal. The gardeners and volunteers "have worked wonders with their bold and innovative plantings", according to an April 2020 report by Country Life. Their most recent efforts led to a wild water garden around the ponds.[15]

The Collector's Earl Garden[edit]

The dancing crown fountain inside Oberon’s Palace at Collector Earl’s Garden, Arundel Castle

Designed by Isabel and Julian Bannerman, The Collector's Earl Garden was opened in 2008 by Charles, Prince of Wales as a tribute to Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel, known as ‘The Collector’. The garden's centerpiece, Oberon's Palace, is a stunning pavilion that features a shellwork grotto and a fountain that supports a golden corona when the water spurts.[16]


The cricket field in the castle grounds has, since 1895, seen matches of standards involving teams from local youths to international sides.[17]

Other events[edit]

  • On 14 October 1651, Captain Morley, who held the Castle for Parliament, while out hunting, almost captured Charles II and Colonel Phillips. Charles II was on the run for his life at the time, fleeing from the Royalist defeat at Worcester. His party managed to just stay clear of Morley's party by dismounting as if to descend the hill more easily, thereby letting Morley's group run past them. (See Gounter, Last Act, p. 12.[18])
  • The visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (1846)[4]
  • The opening of the Collector Earl's Garden 14 May 2008 by Charles, then Prince of Wales.[19]
  • On Friday 21 May 2021 there was a break-in. A set of "irreplaceable" gold rosary beads carried by Mary, Queen of Scots, to her execution in 1587 were among items stolen. Other items taken included coronation cups given by monarchs to the Earl Marshal.[20]

Filming location[edit]

Arundel Castle has been used as a filming location for several television and film productions. The BBC filmed extensively at the castle and its grounds in 1988 for the Doctor Who serial Silver Nemesis, where it doubled for Windsor Castle.[21] It also doubled for Windsor Castle in the 1994 film The Madness of King George.[22] Arundel Castle was also a location for the 2009 film The Young Victoria,[23] and the 2017 film Wonder Woman.[24]

In literature[edit]

In Thomas Malory's epic Morte D'Arthur, Arundel Castle is the castle of Anglides, the mother of Alisander le Orphelin.[25]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Historic England. "Arundel Castle (1027926)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 2 December 2007.
  2. ^ "Arundel Castle, West Sussex". History Extra. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
  3. ^ "Arundel Castle". www.castlesfortsbattles.co.uk. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Baggs, A. P.; Warne, H. M. (1997). "'Arundel', in A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 5 Part 1, Arundel Rape: South-Western Part, Including Arundel, ed. T P Hudson". London: British History Online. pp. 10–101. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  5. ^ a b "Arundel Castle" (PDF). The Castle Studies Group Bulletin. 19: 9–23. 2006. Retrieved 16 June 2023.
  6. ^ "The complete peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom : extant, extinct, or dormant". pp. Volume 1, 239 and 231, as corrected by Vol. 14, p. 38. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
  7. ^ "Mary FitzAlan, Ducchess of Norfolk". Tudor Place. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  8. ^ "Civil War Action at Arundel Castle English Civil War event on 5–6 April 2014" (PDF). arundelcastle.org. 10 April 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  9. ^ Castle Studies Group (2006). "Arundel Castle Review" (PDF). Castle Studies Group Bulletin. 19: 8.
  10. ^ Sheppard, F. H. W. (1960). "'St. James's Square: No 31, Norfolk House', in Survey of London: Volumes 29 and 30, St James Westminster, Part 1". London: British History Online. pp. 187–202. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  11. ^ "Hiorne Tower '" sheer folly, or is it?". Sussex World. 19 January 2018. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  12. ^ J. A. Hilton, English Catholic Heraldry Since Toleration, 1778–2010, The Coat of Arms: The Journal of the Heraldry Society, Series 4, Volume 1, Number 235, 2018, pp. 86–109.
  13. ^ "Rattee and Kett" (PDF). Capturing Cambridge. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  14. ^ "The Duke of Norfolk profile". The Daily Telegraph. 26 June 2002. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  15. ^ "Arundel Castle Gardens: 'Sometimes, a garden catches you unawares… the thought keeps recurring: I've never seen anything like this before.'". Country Life. 7 April 2020. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  16. ^ "Arundel Castle". Great Gardens of the World.
  17. ^ Barclay opens up Arundel for the people, The Daily Telegraph; accessed 19 April 2016.
  18. ^ Gounter, George (1873). The last act in the miraculous story of His Majesty King Charles the Second's escape out of the reach of his tyrannical enemies. J, R, Smith.
  19. ^ "Prince of Wales to open garden at Arundel Castle". Sussex World. 30 April 2008. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  20. ^ "Mary Queen of Scots' rosary beads stolen in £1m raid on Arundel castle". The Guardian. 24 May 2021. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
  21. ^ Moreton, Cole (22 November 2013). "Doctor Who's Britain: 50 years of out-of-this-world locations". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  22. ^ Olivia Edward; Genevieve Cortinovis; James Eggleton (2007). MTV England. John Wiley & Sons. p. 257. ISBN 978-0764587733.
  23. ^ Fox, Chloe (4 February 2009). "The Young Victoria: we were amused". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  24. ^ "Wonder Woman's filming links to the county". Welwyn Hatfield Times. 10 January 2021. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  25. ^ Malory, Sir Thomas (1485). Le Morte d'Arthur (PDF). William Caxton. p. 415.

External links[edit]