Broughton Castle

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Broughton Castle vista
Broughton Castle
The Great Hall
The Gatehouse
Formal garden

Broughton Castle is a medieval manor house located in the village of Broughton which is about two miles south-west of Banbury, Oxfordshire, England on the B4035 road (grid reference SP418382). It is the home of the Fiennes family, Barons Saye and Sele. The castle sits in parkland and is surrounded by a wide moat.


The castle was built as a manor house by Sir John de Broughton in 1300 at a location where the confluence of three streams created a natural site for a moated manor. The house was sold in 1377 to William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, and has remained in the same family since that time. The original house was crenellated by Sir Thomas Wykeham in 1406. In 1451 it passed by inheritance to the Fiennes family, Barons Saye and Sele. Beginning in 1550 Richard Fiennes transformed the medieval manor into a house in the Tudor style, significantly expanding the building.[1]

In the 17th century William Fiennes, 1st Viscount Saye and Sele was one of the leading activists against Charles I. As a result the castle was used by Parliamentarian sympathisers,[2] such as John Pym and John Hampden, as a meeting place in the decade leading up to the Civil War. The 1st Viscount raised troops to fight against the king at the inconclusive Battle of Edgehill in 1642. In the following days, Royalist troops besieged the castle, quickly overcoming the defenders and occupying the castle for a time. Following the end of hostilities, reconstruction work needed to be undertaken to repair damage inflicted by Royalist cannon. James I stayed at Broughton Castle on several occasions.

Broughton fell into decay in the 19th century, but was eventually rescued by Frederick Fiennes, 16th Lord Saye and Sele, who brought in the prominent Victorian architect Sir George Gilbert Scott. At the turn of the century the house was rented by the Edwardian socialite Lady Algernon Gordon-Lennox, who transformed the gardens [3] and hosted Edward VII at the castle.

It is still the home of the Fiennes family and currently lived in by the 21st Baron and his wife. It opens to the public over the summer.


Parts of the films Oxford Blues (1984),The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982), Three Men and a Little Lady (1990), The Madness of King George (1994) and Shakespeare in Love (1998) were shot in the castle. TV filming for parts of Elizabeth The Virgin Queen, Friends and Crocodiles, 1975 Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show and the titles of Noel's House Party also took place there. The castle has been used as the location for several other films and TV programmes[4] including an adaptation of Jane Eyre and Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall.


In August 1981, the electric folk band Fairport Convention held their annual reunion concert at Broughton Castle, rather than the usual Cropredy location.[5] The concert was recorded, and released on the album Moat on the Ledge (1982).


Published in April 2009, The Music Room is a novel by William Fiennes. This fictionalized memoir of his childhood and his epileptic brother is set in (the never identified) Broughton Castle. It has been described as "a beautiful poem of a tribute to his family, his parents, the magical, moated castle that was his home".[6]


  1. ^ Fry, Plantagenet Somerset, The David & Charles Book of Castles, David & Charles, 1980. ISBN 0-7153-7976-3
  2. ^ Furtado, Peter; Geddes, Candida; Harris, Nathaniel; Harrison, Hazel; Pettit, Paul (1987). Guide to Castles in Britain. reference to Puritan and Parliamentary meeting of like minded people at the castle before the battle at Edgehill (Hamlyn – Ordnance Survey). p. 138. ISBN 9780600558699. 
  3. ^ "The Garden". Broughton Castle. 
  4. ^ Allen, Nicholas (2010). "Appendix III". Broughton Castle and the Fiennes Family. Adderbury, Oxfordshire: Wykeham Press. pp. 62–63. ISBN 978-0-9566059-0-0. 
  5. ^ Humphries, Patrick (1982). Meet on the Ledge - a history of Fairport Convention. London: Eel Pie. p. 103. ISBN 0-906008-46-8. 
  6. ^ Scotland on Sunday: "Here be gargoyles: An interview with William Fiennes"

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Coordinates: 52°02′26″N 1°23′31″W / 52.04063°N 1.39199°W / 52.04063; -1.39199