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Arundel Castle
Restored Norman Castle in England

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Arundel Castle is a restored medieval castle. It was founded by Roger de Montgomery on Christmas Day 1067. Roger became the first to hold the earldom of Arundel under William the Conqueror. From the 11th century onward, the castle has been in the family of the Duke of Norfolk, and is still the principal seat of the Howard family. The castle was damaged in the English Civil War and then restored in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is a Grade I listed building.

The keep and gatehouse have been open to the public since 1800 and the gardens since 1854. Today you can visit the keep, castle, chapel and gardens. There is a Restaurant and a Gift Shop, and a range of events in the grounds along with educational and private tours. The castle is also available as a film location and for Corporate Events, Conferences, Pivate Functions and Banquets.

The oldest feature is the motte, an artificial mound, over 100 feet high from the dry moat, and constructed in 1068: followed by the gatehouse in 1070.

Many Earls of Arundel and Dukes of Norfolk were executed for treason, a pattern exacerbated when the pope of the day required all Roman Catholics in England to become treasonable by imposing on them on obligation to assassinate Quenn Elizabeth I. The 'Poet' Earl was executed in 1547; his father, the 3rd Duke of Norfolk only escaped the death penalty because King Henry VIII died the night before the execution was due and the 4th Duke (1536-72) was beheaded for plotting to marry Mary Queen of Scots. There have been two cardinals and a saint in the Howard family; St Philip Howard, 13th Earl of Arundel (1557-95) died in the Tower of London for treason. By contrast, his son, the 'Collector' 14th Earl (1585-1646), as his nickname suggests, was responsible for many of the treasures which can be seen today. The results of all this history are concentrated at the Castle, which houses a fascinating collection of fine furniture dating from the 16th century, tapestries, clocks, and portraits by Van Dyck, Gainsborough, Mytens, Lawrence, Reynolds, Canaletto and others. Personal possessions of Mary, Queen of Scots and a selection of historical, religious and heraldic items from the Duke of Norfolk's collection are also on display.

Arundel Castle is now the home of The Duke and Duchess of Norfolk and their children. The Duke of Norfolk is the Premier Duke, the title having been conferred on Sir John Howard in 1483 by his friend King Richard III. The Dukedom has carried with it the hereditary office of Earl Marshal of England. This means that the Duke is in charge of state ceremonial such as the coronation and funeral of the sovereign and such occasions as the sovereign declares shall be a state occasion, e.g. the investiture of HRH The Prince of Wales and the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill. Visitors often ask about the relationship of the English sovereign to the Dukes of Norfolk: they share a common ancestor in King Edward I (1239-1307) and also King Edward III (1312-1377). As Earl Marshal, the Duke is head of the College of Arms, founded in 1484, the official authority on heraldry and genealogy in England and Wales.





Arundel Castle is located in Arundel, West Sussex, England.

Gatwick Airport is less than an hour's journey by road or rail.

By car the castle is 4 miles north of Littlehampton and the south coast, and midway between Chichester and Worthing on the A27. Follow the brown and white tourist road signs. Pay & Display car park directly opposite the Castle's Lower Lodge entrance in Mill Road .

There is a frequent direct train service from London (Victoria Station) and intermediate stations, including Gatwick Airport. Frequent trains also run from Brighton, Worthing, Littlehampton, Bognor Regis, Chichester and Portsmouth. (Some journeys involve a change of train.) The Castle is a ten-minute walk or a short taxi ride from Arundel station.

Stagecoach Coastliner Service 700 runs half hourly (Monday to Saturdays only) between Brighton, Worthing, Littlehampton and Arundel.

National Express Service runs daily from Eastbourne to Falmouth via Brighton, Worthing, Arundel, Chichester, Havant, Portsmouth, Southampton, Bournemouth and Weymouth.

Free Coach parking opposite the Castle's Lower Lodge entrance in Mill Road.

Arundel Castle
Arundel Castle
West Sussex BN18 9AB

Telephone from the UK: 01903 882173
Telephone from the US: 010 44 1903 882173
Telephone from France: 00 44 1903 882173
Telephone from other countries: +44 (0)1903 882173

Fax: 01903 884581

Google map showing the location of Arundel Castle


Google map showing Arundel Castle


Arundel Castle was built during the reign of William the Conqueror as a fortification for the mouth of the River Arun and a defensive position for the surrounding land against invasion from the Continent. 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 package of hundreds of 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 third of Sussex.

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.

Arundel Castle and the earldom have passed through generations almost directly since 1138, with occasional reversions to the crown and other nobles for a brief 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 reverted to the crown, under Henry II, who spent a vast amount of capital 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 comte de 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 passed to him. The FitzAlan family enjoyed an uninterrupted hereditary line until 1580.





On the death of the seventh Earl in 1272, Arundel Castle and the earldom passed to his five-year-old son Richard. Thirteen years later, Edward I granted Richard the right to hold two fairs per year at the castle as well as the power to collect taxes. This grant provided funding for the much needed renovation of the castle, which, by this time, had fallen into disrepair. Once sufficient funds were available, FitzAlan added the well tower and re-constructed the entrance to the keep.

After Richard's death, his son Edmund was executed for his part in the rebellion against Edward II. Arundel subsequently passed to the 6th son of Edward I who was also executed.

The castle and titles then passed back to the FitzAlans four years later.

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

In 1380 the future Henry IV of England maried Mary de Bohun here. The eleventh Earl, also called Richard, was beaten by King Richard II, for his poor manners. At the funeral of the Queen Anne, the Earl arrived late and then asked to leave early. Richard II later grew tired of his treachery and executed the Earl before confiscating his property. Arundel was given by the crown to John Holland, 1st Duke of Exeter, but when he was executed by Henry IV, Arundel was returned to the FitzAlan line once again.

The next earl, Thomas, married the daughter of 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. The crown seized Arundel upon his execution for conspiring to marry Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1572. The castle was later returned to his heirs, the successor Earls of Arundel.

Although the castle remained in the hands of the Howard family over the succeeding centuries, it was not their favourite residence. Various Dukes of Norfolk invested time and energy into improving other ducal estates, including Norfolk House in London and Worksop.





During the Civil War (1642-45), the Castle was badly damaged when it was twice besieged, first by Royalists who took control, then by Cromwell's Parliamentarian force led by William Waller. Nothing was done to rectify the damage until about 1718 when Thomas, the 8th Duke of Norfolk (1683-1732) carried out some repairs. Charles Howard, the 11th Duke (1746-1815), known to posterity as the 'Drunken Duke' and friend of the Prince Regent subsequently carried out further restoration 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 remodelled, but the library in the castle is still as he had it designed and built. 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.

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 complaints from the celebrities of the day that it was too cold, dark and unfriendly. The Duke devised a new apartment block for the new Queen and her 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 December 1, 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 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.

Soon after the Royal visit, the 14th Duke began re-structuring the castle once again. The 14th Duke died before its completion, and the work was overseen by his successor, the 15th Duke. Work was completed in 1900, and the castle began to look like the structure on display today.

It was one of the first English country houses to be fitted with electric light, integral fire fighting equipment, service lifts and central heating. The gravity fed domestic water supply also supplied the town. Electricity cost over £36,000 to install, but the splendidly carved chimneypiece in the Drawing Room only cost £150!

Changes were made to the grounds and the dark Victorian gardens were replanted to make them bright and colourful. The problem of light within the castle itself was tackled by the replacement of windows to make the interior brighter. The keep was restructured later on, but the original keep was kept until then for its antiquity and picturesque setting.

The 16th Duke had planned to give the castle to the National Trust. Following his death in 1975, the 17th Duke cancelled the plan. The 17th Duke created an independent charitable trust to guarantee the castle's future as an economically viable residence, and oversaw restorative carried out at Arundel. The castle remains the principal seat of the Dukes of Norfolk, the dukedom currently being held by the 18th Duke, who is also the Earl Marshal of England and Chief Butler of England.

Founded in 1390 by the 4th Earl of Arundel and situated in the grounds of Arundel Castle, the Fitzalan Chapel is still the burial place of the Dukes of Norfolk. It is a fine example of Gothic architecture with a carved timber roof and choir stalls. The carved stone tombs are of major artistic interest. In 1879 it was determined that the Chapel did not form part of the Protestant parish church but was an independent ecclesiastical structure and therefore remains Catholic. A glass wall now divides the Chapel from the parish church; an unusual, if not unique, anomaly in England. Access involves a ramp and a step to the gardens and 9 steps up to the Chapel.

Film Location For:

Silver Nemesis (Doctor Who) (1988)    TV. (used to represent Windsor Castle)

Madness of King George (1994)    

Trails to Doomsday (1994)    Used as Carcroft Castle in the MacGyver television movie

The Prince and the (1996)    BBC TV

Victoria & Albert (2001)    TV serial

Henry VIII (2003)    Granada TV

The Young Victoria (2008)    





The Collector Earl's Garden and other Gardens

The new formal garden at Arundel has been conceived as a light-hearted tribute to Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel (1585-1646), known as ‘The Collector’. He died in exile in Padua during the English Civil War and though his body was brought back to England and buried in the Fitzalan Chapel at Arundel, the elaborate tomb which he had specified in his will was never erected. This garden, adjoining the church, is now his memorial.

Lord Arundel was the first of the great English art collectors, whose antique marbles are now at Oxford, and the library at the Royal Society; but the magnificent Van Dyck and Mytens portraits and some other objects commissioned or collected by him form the basis of the collection now at Arundel Castle, while his retrieval of lost family estates, titles and honours after the disasters of his ancestors’ executions and attainders in the previous century were instrumental in the revival of the Norfolk family.

The new garden occupies about a third of the area of the Georgian and Victorian walled kitchen garden,. The walled garden originally supplied flowers and vegetables to the castle and to Norfolk House but was gradually given up after the Second World War and was largely derelict by the 1970s.

The present Duke and Duchess, with the c backing of the Castle Trustees, have already re-created the rest of this area as an organic kitchen garden; part of a general programme of restoration and enhancement of the whole castle and grounds undertaken over the last twenty years or so. This new garden has been designed by Isabel and Julian Bannerman with Russell Taylor as job architect, and has been conceived as a Jacobean formal garden. It is an imaginative re-creation of what the Collector Earl’s formal garden may have been like at Arundel House, his town palace overlooking the Thames in London (now the site of the Howard Hotel and Temple Underground Station). The domed pergola and fountains are based on those seen in the garden vista in the background of the famous Mytens portrait of the Countess of Arundel in the drawing room, while the various gateways and pavilions are based on Inigo Jones’s designs for Arundel House preserved at the RIBA Drawings Collection. They have been executed in green oak.

The grand centrepiece is the rockwork ‘mountain’ planted with palms and rare ferns to represent another world, supporting a green oak version of ‘Oberon’s Palace’, a fantastic spectacle designed by Inigo Jones for Prince Henry’s Masque on New Year’s Day 1611, flanked by two green oak obelisks. This contains a shell-lined interior with a stalagmite fountain and gilded coronet ‘dancing’ on top of the jet.

The garden is divided into formal courts with a centre canal pond and tufa-lined cascade. The planting is restrained—no flowers but catalpas, scented magnolia grandiflora and shrubs. The garden is an evocation of a Jacobean garden, not a re-creation..

Before the present 18th Duke and Duchess moved permanently to the Castle in 1987, the gardens had been largely neglected. Over the intervening years the Duchess, together with the head gardener, has transformed the 2 acres allocated to the gardens.

There are hot and cool herbaceous borders with contrasting foliage plants, a cut flower border which together with the ornamental Victorian kitchen garden supplies the Castle with fresh fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. A rare lean-to peach house and vinery, originally built in 1850 by Clarke & Hope, has been restored to its former glory and houses exotic fruit and vegetables. The sheltered location of the gardens makes it possible for many of the tender perennials such as cannas and salvias to remain in the ground throughout the winter.

The Fitzalan Chapel has its own small garden charmingly planted in white and there is also a newly planted rose garden in what was once an 18th Century bowling green.

The arms of the present Duke

Quarterly 1st Gules on a Bend between six Cross-crosslets fitchy Argent an Escutcheon Or charged with a Demi-lion rampant pierced through the mouth by an arrow within a Double Tressure flory counterflory of the first (Howard); 2nd Gules three Lions passant gardant in pale Or, Armed and Langued Azure, in chief a Label of three points Argent (Thomas of Brotherton); 3rd Checky Or and Azure (Warenne); 4th Gules a Lion rampant Or, Armed and Langued Azure (Fitzalan).





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