Pennsylvania Castle

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Pennsylvania Castle
Pennsylvania Castle - geograph.org.uk - 527899.jpg
General information
Type English country house
Architectural style Gothic Revival
Location Isle of Portland, Dorset, England
Coordinates 50°32′19″N 2°25′50″W / 50.538514°N 2.430482°W / 50.538514; -2.430482
Construction started 1797
Completed 1800
Client John Penn
Design and construction
Architect James Wyatt

Pennsylvania Castle is a Gothic Revival mansion on the Isle of Portland, Dorset, England. It is located in Wakeham, and overlooks Church Ope Cove. The castle is Grade II Listed.[1] The gatehouse and lodges are also Grade II Listed though now in separate ownership.[2] After becoming a hotel in 1950, it reverted to being a private residence in the 1990s. It is now hired out for functions and events, and is Portland's most expensive residential property.[3]

The castle, built using Portland stone, was originally a rectangular block until it was extended in the 20th century. It also has projecting corner turrets, embattled parapets and a circular tower.

History[edit]

The castle was built in 1797-1800 to designs by the architect James Wyatt for John Penn, Governor of Portland and grandson of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania.[4][5] Penn had discovered the area on one of his trips with King George III, and chose it for a marine mansion.[6] King George III's daughter Princess Elizabeth officially opened the mansion in 1800.[7]

A few years later, Penn had a bath built below the gardens of the castle, during a time when sea bathing was popular. However, when it was completed, the Court Leet demanded rent for its use as it was built on common land. Penn refused to pay, and the bath was abandoned.[8] The castle later appeared as "Sylvania Castle" in Hardy's 1892 novel "The Well-Beloved".[4] During World War II, Winston Churchill, General Eisenhower and General de Gaulle visited the castle, where they met to finalise their plans for D-Day.[4]

In 1950 the private residence was turned into a hotel, known as "The Pennsylvania Castle Hotel", which continued to operate until the 1990s.[9] The mansion reverted to private use, and was sold again in 2011 for £4 million to a buyer from Australia.[10][11] The castle was then made available as a holiday home, also catering for weddings, private and corporate functions and other events.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1203103)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  2. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1203078)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 29 September 2015. 
  3. ^ "Portland castle sells for £3.5million". Dorset Echo. Retrieved 6 June 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c Historic England. "Monument No. 868650". PastScape. Retrieved 29 September 2015. 
  5. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1203103)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 29 September 2015. 
  6. ^ Morris, Stuart (1985). Portland: An Illustrated History. Dovecote Press. p. 46. ISBN 978-0946159345. 
  7. ^ http://www.thepenn.co.uk/about-us/history/
  8. ^ "Penn's Bath, Portland, Dorset". Geoffkirby.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  9. ^ http://www.geoffkirby.co.uk/Portland/695710/
  10. ^ "BBC News - Pennsylvania Castle in Portland sold for £4m". Bbc.co.uk. 2011-01-20. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  11. ^ "7 bedroom house for sale in Portland, Dorset, DT5, DT5". Rightmove.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  12. ^ "History - Pennsylvania Castle". Thepenn.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-06-10.