Arundel Castle

From Wikishire
Jump to: navigation, search
Bramber Castle


Arundel Castle -West Sussex, England-23June2011.jpg
Arundel Castle from the air
Grid reference: TQ019072
Location: 50°51’21"N, 0°33’11"W
Village: Arundel
Condition: Good
Owned by: The Duke of Norfolk
Website: Arundel Castle

Arundel Castle is a restored and remodeled mediæval castle in Arundel in Sussex. It was established by Roger de Montgomery on Christmas Day 1067. Roger became the first to hold the earldom of Arundel, a title granted by William the Conqueror. The castle was damaged in the Civil War and then restored in the 18th and 19th centuries.

From the 11th century, the castle has served as a home and been in the ownership of the family of the Duke of Norfolk for over 400 years. It is the principal seat of the Norfolk family. It is a Grade I listed building.[1]


Junction of the old and new walls

The original structure was a motte and double 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 grant of a great many manors. Roger was a cousin of William's and had stayed in Normandy to keep the peace there whilst William was off 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 (the Arundel Rape).

After Roger de Montgomery died, the castle reverted to the crown under Henry I. The King, in his will, left Arundel Castle and the attached land to his second wife Adeliza of Louvain. In 1138, three years after Henry's death, she married William d'Albini II (aka d'Aubigny, the first Earl, of the d'Aubigny family of Saint-Martin-d'Aubigny in Normandy). William was responsible for creating the stone shell on the motte, thus increasing the defence and status of the castle.

Changes to the castle in the mediæval period

The motte behind the quadrangle

Arundel Castle and the earldom have passed through generations almost directly since 1138, with only the occasional reversion to the crown and other nobles for a brief time. Since the Aubigny family first received the castle, changes have been made and the castle has been re-structured to meet the requirements of the nobility at the present time.

In 1139, the Empress Matilda was invited to stay at Arundel for some time during her travel to press her claim to the English throne upon Stephen. The stone apartments constructed to accommodate the Empress and her entourage survive to this day.

In 1176, William d'Aubigny died and Arundel Castle then reverted to the crown, under Henry II, who spent a vast amount of money re-structuring the building, mainly for domestic needs. When Henry died, the castle remained in the possession of Richard I ("the Lionheart"), who offered it to the Aubigny family line under William III of Sussex. The last in the Aubigny male line was Hugh, who died at a young age in 1243. When his sister Isabel wed John FitzAlan of Clun, the castle and earldom were turned over to him. The FitzAlan family enjoyed an uninterrupted hereditary line until 1580.

The tenth Earl, Richard, fought at the Battle of Crécy with Edward III and the Black Prince. FitzAlan was also responsible for the building of the FitzAlan Chapel, built posthumously according to his will.

The eleventh Earl, Richard, was treated harshly by Richard II, and eventually King Richard executed the Earl for treachery and confiscated his property. Arundel was given by the crown to John Holland, 1st Duke of Exeter, but when he was in turn executed by Henry IV, Arundel was returned to the FitzAlan line once again. The next earl, Thomas, married the daughter of Kimg John of Portugal. The couple eventually became the first members of the FitzAlan family to be buried in the chapel built by Richard FitzAlan, the tenth Earl.

The FitzAlan line ceased when Mary FitzAlan, daughter of the nineteenth earl, married Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, and it is to the Dukes of Norfolk that the title "Earl of Arudel" then passed. The crown seized Arundel upon his execution for conspiring to marry Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1572 but the castle was later returned to his heirs.

Restoration of castle

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 and Worksop.

Charles Howard, 11th Duke of Norfolk, was known for his restoration work and improvements to the castle beginning in 1787 and continuing for a number of years, as he desired to live there and entertain his visitors there. Many of his improvements have since been revised and remodeled, but the library in the castle is still as he had it designed and built. The Folly that still stands on the hill above Swanbourne Lake was commissioned by and built for the Duke by Francis Hiorne to prove his abilities as an architect and builder. He held a large party at Arundel Castle to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta shortly before his death in 1815.

Royal visit of 1846

In 1846, Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert, visited Arundel Castle for a few days. Henry Charles Howard, 13th Duke of Norfolk, had remodelled the castle in time for her visit. He was thinking of disposing of some of the 11th Duke of Norfolk's work, as there had been several complaints from the great personages of the day that it was too cold, dark and unfriendly. The Duke devised a brand new apartment block for the new Queen and her prince consort, Prince Albert, to stay in, commissioning a portrait of the Queen and decorating the block with the finest of Victorian furniture and art. There was also a re-structuring of bedrooms for the court. The Duke spared no expense to make the Queen's visit enjoyable, and he succeeded.

The Queen was received on 1 December 1846 by the Duke, Edward Howard Howard-Gibbon (the Mayor of Arundel), and other town dignitaries, and then she retired to her private apartments in the castle. On her visit she walked in the newly designed grounds and visited areas of the county nearby, including Petworth House. Almost every part of the castle that the Queen would visit was re-furbished and exquisitely decorated to meet Royal standards. At the end of her visit, she wrote to the Duke and commented on how enjoyable her visit was, commenting on the "beautiful" castle and the friendliness of her reception. The suite of rooms in which Victoria stayed are now part of the family's private apartments but the suite of bedroom furniture made for her is on display. Among other things to see are the Queen's bed, the guest book bearing her and her Consort's signature, and her toilet.

Changes to the castle from 1850 to the present day

Soon after the 1846 Royal visit the 14th Duke began re-structuring the castle again. He died before its completion, and the work was completed by the 15th Duke in 1900. The keep was restructured later on, but the original keep was kept until then for its antiquity and picturesque quality.

The Bernard Fitzalan-Howard, 16th Duke of Norfolk 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.[2]

Today the castle remains the principal seat of the Dukes of Norfolk. Most of the castle and its extensive grounds are open to the public.


The cricket field in the castle grounds has, since 1895, seen matches of standards involving teams from local youths to international sides. Brian Lara was happy coaching there.[3]

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Arundel Castle)


  1. National Heritage List 1027926: Arundel Castle
  2. "The Duke of Norfolk". The Daily Telegraph. 26 June 2002. 
  3. The Daily Telgraph – Sport "Barclay opens up Arundel for the people"