Croft Castle

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Croft Castle
Croft Castle in 2010
Croft Castle in 2010
Coordinates 52°17′05″N 2°48′33″W / 52.28486°N 2.80916°W / 52.28486; -2.80916Coordinates: 52°17′05″N 2°48′33″W / 52.28486°N 2.80916°W / 52.28486; -2.80916
OS grid reference SO 449 655
Website www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croft-castle/

Croft Castle is a castle, church and garden located at Yarpole, Herefordshire, England.[1][2][3][4]

It is a National Trust property which is open to the public.

Location[edit]

The site is located at Yarpole,[5] 5 miles (8.0 km) north-west of Leominster,[6] in Herefordshire, England. It is surrounded by 1,500 acres of woodland, farmland and parkland.[5] It is at grid reference SO449655.[citation needed]

The Mortimer Trail, a long-distance footpath, passes by.[citation needed]

Castle[edit]

Croft Castle 1.jpg

A building has been on the site from the 11th century and it has from this time been the home of the Croft family and Croft baronets. The Croft family were closely linked to their neighbours the Mortimers of Wigmore and later Ludlow. The Battle of Mortimer's Cross took place on Croft lands nearby in 1461. The present building originated as a castle in the 14th century and has been much altered since. It was the home of a John Croft who married one of Owain Glyndŵr's daughters. In the 15th century the Croft family adopted the Welsh Wyvern crest, a wounded black dragon, seen as a subtle allusion to their Glyndwr heritage. Croft Castle was restored after slighting in the Civil War. It now consists of a stone quadrangular manor house with a small castellated round tower at each corner and a small square tower flanking the north side. The castle is under the care of the National Trust and members of the Croft family still live within it.[citation needed]

The manor house[citation needed] has a quadrectangular structure around a central courtyard. The north side of the building is not parallel to the south side. The outside walls of the building date from the 15th century. The building has four circular towers on each corner of the structure, although they are too slender to be defensive structures. The north range is Elizabethan, while the other ranges date later than 1746, and are Georgian in design. The building originally had a parapet, which was later removed. The sash windows were a later addition. The entrance porch, which has flanking parapets, is also Georgian, although it may have been located on the site of a former gatehouse.[6]

The castle was the home of the Croft family for nearly 1000 years.[5] It may have been built by Richard Croft. The Croft family was recorded as living in the structure in the Domesday Book. The Croft family suffered financially following the South Sea Bubble[7] and in 1746 sold the estate to Richard II Knight (1693-1765),[6] the eldest son and heir of Richard I Knight (1659-1745), of Downton Hall, in the parish of Downton on the Rock in Herefordshire, a wealthy ironmaster who operated the Bringewood Ironworks[8][9] and founded a large fortune and family dynasty. He married Elizabeth Powell, daughter of Samuel Powell of Stanedge, Radnorshire, by whom he had a sole daughter and heiress Elizabeth Knight, who married Thomas I Johnes (c.1721–1780) of Llanfair Clydogau, MP for Radnorshire (1777-80).[10] In the 1760's Thomas I Johnes remodelled Croft Castle in the Rococo-Gothic style to the design of the architect Thomas Pritchard (d.1777).[11] Their son and heir was Thomas II Johnes (1748-1816) of Croft Castle, MP, who adopted the additional surname of Knight (according to the mural monument he erected 1813/16 to his ancestors in the chapel of Croft Castle), a pioneer in the field of agriculture. He purchased another estate at Hafod Uchtryd, Ceredigion, Wales, 65 miles away, the manor house of which he filled with valuable works of art. He planted 3 million trees on the Hafod estate and created a highly picturesque landscape painted in 1789 by J. M. W. Turner (1775-1851).[12] He met with financial difficulties and sold Croft Castle in the 1780's to Somerset Davies[13] (c.1754-1817), MP for Ludlow in 1783.[14] He continued to reside at Hafod, badly damaged by fire in 1807.[15]

Having been owned by several further families, Croft Castle was re-purchased by the Croft family in 1923.[5]

It was Grade I listed by Historic England on 8 November 1956.[16] It is similar in appearance to Treago Castle.[6]

Chapel[edit]

The Church at Croft Castle - geograph.org.uk - 1057715.jpg

The chapel is dedicated to St Michael, and dates to the 13th century.[citation needed].

It contains the tomb of Richard Croft[6] and his wife Eleanor (née Cornwall). Eleanor was the daughter of Sir Edmund Cornwall, Baron of Burford in Shropshire, and the widow of Sir Hugh Mortimer of Kyre Wyard and Martley, Worcestershire, who was killed in action at the Battle of Wakefield on 30 December 1460.[17]

Garden[edit]

The Mortimer Trail near Lucton - geograph.org.uk - 219819.jpg

The property has a walled garden than includes a vineyard, orchard and a glasshouse dating from 1908. It also has a Georgian stable block.[5]

The estate has an avenue of Spanish Chestnut trees, oaks and beech trees.[citation needed]

Hill fort[edit]

The parkland includes an Iron Age hill fort,[5] known as Croft Ambrey.[6]

Family[edit]

Members of the Croft family include:[citation needed]

  • Sir Richard Croft (1429/30-1509), royal official for Kings Edward IV, Edward V, Richard III, and Henry VII
  • Thomas Croft (c.1435-1488), shipowner and patron of Atlantic exploration
  • Sir James Croft (c.1518-1590), lord deputy of Ireland and leading conspirator in Wyatt's Rebellion
  • Herbert Croft (1603-1691), bishop of Hereford, chaplain to King Charles I and dean of the chapels Royal to Charles II
  • William Croft (c.1678-1727), organist and composer
  • Sir Herbert Croft (1751-1816), writer and lexicographer
  • Sir Richard Croft (1762-1818), physician and man-midwife
  • Sir Henry Page Croft (1881-1947), 1st Baron Croft, soldier and politician, Under-Secretary of State for War 1940-1945
  • Sir James Herbert Croft (1907-1941), died on active service with No 1 Commando

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Croft Castle". Herefordshire Council. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "Croft Castle". CastleUK.net. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  3. ^ "Croft Castle". Castle Wales. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  4. ^ Fry, Plantagenet Somerset (1980). The David & Charles Book of Castles. David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-7976-3. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Croft Castle and Parkland". National Trust. Retrieved 2015-05-01. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Pettifer, Adrian (2002). English Castles: A Guide by Counties. Boydell & Brewer. pp. 95, 102. ISBN 978-0-85115-782-5. 
  7. ^ Kearley, Susie
  8. ^ Ince, L., The Knight family and the British iron industry 1695–1902 (1991), 6
  9. ^ R. Page, 'Richard and Edward Knight: ironmasters of Bringewood and Wolverley' Transactions of Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club 43 (1979), 15.
  10. ^ http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1754-1790/member/johnes-thomas-1721-80
  11. ^ Kearley, Susie, Survival Skills (article on history of Croft Castle), Victorian Homes magazine, 9 April 2017[1]
  12. ^ Tate Gallery, London[2]
  13. ^ Kearley, Susie
  14. ^ http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1754-1790/member/davies-somerset-1754-1817
  15. ^ Kearley, Susie
  16. ^ "Croft Castle". Historic England. Retrieved 2015-05-01. 
  17. ^ "Martley: The Mortimers". Retrieved 2 May 2015.