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Lulworth Castle - Lulworth Estate, East Lulworth, Dorset, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Dragontree
N 50° 38.328 W 002° 12.451
30U E 556038 N 5609958
Quick Description: Lulworth Castle is a grand, historic country mansion in the Dorset countryside.
Location: Southern England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 10/5/2008 6:00:34 AM
Waymark Code: WM4W8J
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member T A G
Views: 14

Long Description:
The superb Lulworth Estate website describes this historic house:

'Lulworth castle, built in the early 17th Century as a hunting lodge, became a country house at the heart of a large estate. Thomas Howard, 3rd Lord Bindon, built the Castle in order to entertain hunting parties for the King and Court. The Howards owned it until 1641 when it was purchased by Humphrey Weld, the direct ancestor of the present owners.

The exterior of the Castle changed little over the years but the interior evolved in line with changing fashions until it was gutted by a disasterous fire in 1929. Restoration work began on the ruin by the Department of the Environment and was followed through to completion in 1998 by English Heritage.

Lulworth Castle House stands in the 18th Century Park at East Lulworth, 200 yards from the family seat it was built to replace - Lulworth Castle.

Lulworth Castle House was built by Wilfrid and Sally Weld, the present owners of the Lulworth Estate at a time when it proved to be both impractical and unaffordable to proceed with their plans to restore and rebuild the Castle. It was completed in 1977.

The treasures in the house come from several sources. Regrettably, the chattels in the Castle were lost to the family and most of those to be seen have been repurchased by the last three owners. Many of the pieces have come from Ince Blundell, collected in the late 18th Century. Lastly, some pieces have been purchased specifically for the house.

Like Wilfrid's great great great great grandfather, Thomas, before him, the family home and grounds are open to organised groups by appointment.

The History of Lulworth Castle and Park

Land where Lulworth Castle now stands was first acquired by Thomas Howard, son of the 2nd Duke of Norfolk by marrying one of the last of the de Newburgh family. Also acquired at this time was land at the Bindon Abbey Estate. In 1575 Queen Elizabeth made him Viscount Bindon and in the same year Thomas built a large country house on the site of Bindon Abbey. Thomas was a wealthy man who held high office at the time, including that of Vice Admiral of Dorset, and defender of the Dorset coast against smuggling and piracy.

Thomas Howard was succeeded in 1582 by Henry, a man who associated with pirates and who ill-treated his wife. In the same year, Henry's aunt also died leaving him to inherit the rest of the abbey estates.

When Henry died, his brother Thomas inherited and re-established the de Newburgh deer park and built the Castle as a hunting lodge to host hunting parties for the King.

Over the years, the castle has seen a number of uses, occupants and a varied and colourful history. There have been a number of significant events at the Castle, some like the fire of 1929 were devastating, others less so but equally as important in the Castle's history.

The original layout of this Jacobean building echoed medieval designs. Changing fashions have influenced its subsequent evolution. In medieval times the Hall was the largest room and focus of the house. On important occasions everyone ate there; the owner seated on a dais at the head of the room and others ranged below in order of rank. A doorway led from the Hall to the owners private apartments.

By Jacobean times great events rarely took place in the Hall. Instead guests were entertained in the Grand Chamber (the Great Dining Room) which like the other private rooms had increased in size and importance. At Lulworth, the Hall remained an imposing room, leading via an arch to the main stairs and upwards to the Great Chamber. Beyond this were the State Apartments occupied by the persons of highest rank present and entered by others only at their invitation. The second floor was divided into four slightly less importnat suites, each of three rooms. Above, viewing parties could survey the panorama of the surrounding countryside from the lead roof or retreat into rooms at the tops of the corner towers.

After the Civil War Humphrey Weld needed to refurbish the Castle's interior. On the first floor doorways were realigned 'en filade' in the French fashion. On the second floor the corner rooms were divided up into small rooms and corridors which led to the towers, creating seven smaller suites each with a bedchamber and a closet.

In the 18th Century Edward Weld modernised many rooms in the Castle. A new and sophisticated reorganisation was planned by his son Edward, the next owner, but never implemented due to his untimely death. Instead his younger brother Thomas inherited the estate and engaged the architect John Tasker to design an alternative scheme. The terrace was rebuilt as a hollow structure adding extra service rooms to the basement. Within the main building alterations included the enlargement of the chapel, replacement of the main stair, creation of a larger entrance hall and redecoration of the principal ground and first floor rooms in the fashionable Neo-Classical style. Soon after the completion of the work, Thomas Weld again used John Tasker to build the chapel in the grounds.

The last significant re-styling was carried out in the mid 1860's, using the architect Joseph Hansom. He created a corridor directly linking the two ground floor entrances so that visitors entering the front door no longer had to circulate through the main rooms to reach the rest of the Castle. The newly isolated South East corner of the building became the 'gentlemen's area', containing the Billiard Room and the owner's Study. Elsewhere in the Castle comfort was improved by adding central heating and more fireplaces.

Please contact us on 0845 450 1054 for further details. Lulworth castle House is open for admission by appointment only. Please contact us for admission dates and pricing.'
Earliest Recorded Date of Construction: 1/1/1600

Additional Dates of Construction:
From a perilous state of decay the Castle has been saved from eventual ruin. The exterior is now fully restored and the interior consolidated. Exposed to the elements after the fire, the Castle decayed rapidly. Stonework eroded and unburnt timbers rotted until the whole structure was in danger of collapse. Discussions between the Weld Estate and English Heritage led to the start of a programme of restoration. The first priority for the restorers was safety; dangerous and crumbling masonry were supported, scaffolding erected and the site was cleared of vegetation and loose debris. Stripped of plaster and panelling by the fire, the naked walls revealed their history. Previously hidden details like bloked doorways and scars of demolished walls, together with historic records, were used to interpret the building's development over the centuries. This helped restoration to proceed with the minimum of disturbance.

Architectural Period/Style: Elizabethan

Architect (if known): Wilfrid and Sally Weld

Type of Building e.g. Country House, Stately Home, Manor:
Country Mansion

Interesting Historical Facts or Connections:
Please see above

Main Material of Construction: Stone

Private/Public Access: Public Access by arrangement

Admission Fee (if applicable): 10.00 (listed in local currency)

Opening Hours (if applicable): From: 10:30 AM To: 4:00 PM

Related Website: [Web Link]


Landscape Designer (if known): Not listed

Listed Building Status (if applicable): Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Tell us about your visit with any details of interest about the property. Please supply at least one original photograph from a different aspect taken on your current visit.
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