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Arundel Castle, West Sussex, England

Arundel Castle - EnglandArundel Castle is a restored and remodelled medieval castle in Arundel, West Sussex, England. It was begun during the reign of Edward the Confessor and its completion was facilitated by Roger de Montgomery.

The castle was damaged in the English Civil War, but restored in the 18th and 19th centuries by Charles Howard, the 11th Duke of Norfolk.

Since the 11th century, the castle has been the seat of the Earls of Arundel and the, the Dukes of Norfolk and is a Grade I listed building by the British government.

The original structure was a motte-and-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.

de Montgomery, who was a cousin of William the Conqueror, had stayed in Normandy to keep the peace while William was away from England.

He was rewarded for his loyalty with extensive lands in the Welsh Marshes and across the country, together with one fifth of Sussex (Arundel Rape). He began work on Arundel Castle in around 1067.

The castle then passed to Adeliza of Louvain - who had previously been married to Henry I and her husband William d'Aubigny. Empress Matilda stayed in the castle, in 1139.

Arundel Castle - EnglandIt then passed down the d'Aubigny line until the death of Hugh d'Aubigny, 5th Earl of Arundel in 1243.

John Fitzalan then inherited jure matris the castle and honour of Arundel, by which, according to Henry VI's admission of 1433, he was later retrospectively held to have become de jure Earl of Arundel.

The Fitzalan male line ceased on the death of Henry Fitzalan, the 12th Earl of Arundel, whose daughter and heiress Mary Fitzalan married Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, to whose descendants the castle and earldom passed.

In 1643, during the First English Civil War, the castle was besieged and the 800 royalists inside it surrendered after 18 days. Afterwards in 1653 Parliament ordered the slighting of the castle; however "weather probably destroyed more".

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.

Charles Howard, the 11th Duke of Norfolk, was known for his restoration work and improvements to the castle beginning in 1787. The folly that still stands on the hill above Swanbourne Lake was commissioned by and built for the Duke by Francis Hiorne at this time.

In 1846, Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert, visited Arundel Castle for three days. Henry Howard, 13th Duke of Norfolk, remodelled the castle in time for her visit to a design by an architectural firm, Morant: a suite of six rooms were built on the second floor of the south-east range at that time.

Soon after the 1846 Royal visit the 14th Duke began re-structuring the castle again. The work, which had been undertaken by Rattee and Kett of Cambridge, was completed in the late 19thcentury.

Arundel Castle - EnglandThe 16th Duke 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 restoration works.

The extensive gardens had received significant improvements by early 2020 through the efforts of head gardener Martin Duncan and his crew. A horticulturalist and landscape designer, Duncan has been working at the Castle since 2009.

In 2018, he received the Kew Guild Medal. The gardeners and volunteers "have worked wonders with their bold and innovative plantings", according to an April 2020 report by Country Life. Their most recent efforts led to a wild water garden around the ponds.

On 14th October 1651, Captain Morley, who held the Castle for Parliament, while out hunting, almost captured Charles II and Colonel Phillips.

Charles II was on the run for his life at the time, fleeing from the Royalist defeat at Worcester. His party managed to just stay clear of Morley's party by dismounting as if to descend the hill more easily, thereby letting Morley's group run past them.

Treasures were stolen in a heist at the castle - late on Friday 21 May 2021 staff were alerted to the break-in after a burglar alarm went off and police were scrambled to the scene.

The historic property, family seat to the Dukes of Norfolk and their forebears for some 850 years, was the victim of a robbery, with stolen items including gold rosary beads carried by Mary, Queen of Scots to her execution in 1587.

Arundel Castle - EnglandThe items were stolen from display cabinets, used in the part of the castle that plays host to public visitors.

Police were summoned to the scene and discovered a burnt out car abandoned nearby, which is thought to be connected to the heist.

A Sussex police spokesman stated at the time: ‘Police are seeking thieves who broke into Arundel castle and stole gold and silver items worth in excess of £1 million… The various items that have been stolen are of great historical significance.

Now, a 45-year-old man has been arrested in connection to the crime, after police carried out eight raids in Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Worcestershire.

"Our investigation into the Arundel Castle burglary remains live," said Detective Inspector Alan Pack of Sussex Police, refusing to confirm whether the lost treasures had been recovered.

Arundel Castle has been used as a filming location for several television and film productions. The BBC filmed extensively at the castle and its grounds in 1988 for the Doctor Who serial Silver Nemesis, where it doubled for Windsor Castle.

It also doubled for Windsor Castle in the 1994 film The Madness of King George. Arundel Castle was also a location for the 2009 film The Young Victoria, and the 2017 DC film Wonder Woman.

Although it looks quite natural, Swanbourne Lake was created by the eleventh Duke of Norfolk in the late eighteenth century as part of his development of a new, larger Arundel Park.

Arundel Castle - EnglandNext to the castle this park encloses over a thousand acres of downs and woodland. The lake was created by excavating the valley and stream above the pond which once powered an ancient mill mentioned in the Doomsday Book.

The design of the lake included landscaping with trees and paths. John Constable’s last painting in 1837 was of the mill. Eight years later the thirteenth Duke of Norfolk built a new, model dairy on the site of the mill which was no longer in use.

The rectangular tower on the high ground which can be glimpsed from the end of the lake was a trial pieced designed by Francis Hiorne the architect who was being considered to undertake the restoration of the castle.

Sadly, he died before he could work on the castle and the tower was named after him when it was completed in 1787.

Just inside the gates of the park is a gorgeous lodge, Swanbourne Lodge designed by William Burn in 1845 and today used as a restaurant.

This Lodge is one of the best examples of a split flint stone building in Sussex.

The Wetlands in Arundel - Arundel Wetland Centre occupies a site that until 1976 was a commercial watercress farm. It was thanks to the vision of Sir Peter Scott founder of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust that the area was transformed to a Wetland Centre.

This haven for nature is a very special place and allows visitors to get close to nature in a beautiful setting. Strolling through the wetlands was a very pleasant way to end a lovely day in Arundel.

Arundel Castle - EnglandArundel Museum is a local museum near the castle in the town of Arundel, West Sussex, just inland from the south coast of England.

Arundel Museum is run by the Arundel Museum Society, a registered charity. The museum is manned by volunteers and relies on subscriptions, donations and fundraising events for its survival.

Arundel Museum Society was founded in 1963 by a group of local people. At this time heritage was under threat from new development and was generally undervalued.

The Museum Society set out to rescue and conserve as much as possible of Arundel's past, and aimed to create a town museum with the advice of Sussex historian Roy Armstrong and archaeologist Con Ainsworth.

In March 1964, the first museum was established in the old prison cells in the undercroft of Arundel Town Hall. In this evocative but somewhat cramped and damp environment the Museum Society built up displays of the history of Arundel and the surrounding villages.

From the beginning, the museum relied totally on volunteer management and stewards.

It was a small-scale attraction, and one of the first independent local museums in the area, but it had limitations.

The Museum's first big opportunity came in 1975 when the former Borough Council Offices at 61 High Street became redundant following the major local government re-organisation.

Arun District Council offered the Museum Society the opportunity to take a lease on this Grade 2* listed Georgian building. The Society created a new museum which was opened in 1977. At this time AMS became a Charity.

Arundel Castle - EnglandDuring the 1980s and 1990s, Arundel Museum Society faced new challenges. Standards of curatorial care became more demanding. Techniques of conservation were more complex and scientific.

With a new national structure for the management of museums and galleries came the requirement for museums to be registered to show that they conformed to minimum standards of good curatorial practice. Arundel Museum was the first in the area to achieve MLA Registration.

The Museum expanded into eight galleries. In 2000, the oral history archive gathered by volunteers was published as a book entitled Arundel Voices.

A grant was obtained for a new display on the Port of Arundel, and this was accompanied by a new Town Trail way-marked by ceramic plaques by a local potter.

In 2004, an art gallery was established to stage exhibitions. A regular programme of town walks, lectures and short courses was offered, and school visits were hosted. In 2005 - a new formal MLA requirement,

Accreditation, was introduced with more demanding benchmarks and the need for extensive documentation and policies to meet specified formats. Arundel Museum was again one of the first in the area to achieve Accreditation, which it did at the first attempt.

From 2000 onward, the Museum had operated under the shadow of an uncertain future. Arun District Council had expressed an intention to sell 61 High Street, and the lease would not be renewed.

AMS tried hard to find alternative premises so that a planned move from one building to another might be achieved, however without success. Whilst efforts to develop a new museum carried on in the background, AMS was obliged to leave their premises in the autumn of 2007.

Museum Society volunteers, supervised by a consultant curator, undertook the task of packing every item in the collection and transferring these into storage.

Arundel Castle - EnglandFor the 2008 and subsequent seasons, Arundel Museum was able to keep a presence in the town by opening in temporary portacabin accommodation, sponsored by local entrepreneurs, next to the Car Park in Mill Road.

In October 2011, it moved again, and again to temporary accommodation, this time in Crown Yard Mews, where the museum took on the role as tourist information point for Arundel.

Returning to 2008, the Angmering Park Estate Trust and the Norfolk Estate came to the rescue and provided the society with a vision for the future. They agreed to jointly offer an ideal, prime site for a new building in the centre of the main tourist area.

This is the site at that time occupied by St Nicholas Hall, opposite the Lower Castle Gate. So AMS became involved in a two-pronged attack to achieve its aims.

Firstly, Arundel Museum Society needed plans for the new building. Graham Whitehouse, the architect, created plans for the building and steered the society through the planning process.

Jonothan Potter worked closely with the museum to develop a new design concept for the internal displays.

Secondly, Arundel Museum Society needed to embark on a major fundraising drive to raise a total of £1.6 million to build and fit out its new permanent home in the heart of Arundel. The first step was to apply for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Planning consent was obtained in March 2009. Early in 2010, the news was received that the first round bid that the Society had made to the HLF had been successful.

Arundel Castle - EnglandThis meant that the HLF awarded the Society a grant of £102,800 to develop and submit more detailed development plans and apply for up to a further £888,000. The second round bid was submitted to the HLF in November.

At the end of March 2011, the Society heard that the second round application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £888,000 had been granted, - subject to contract, towards the project totaling £1,414,500.

This grant, together with a £385,500 from Arun District Council, £50,000 that was raised locally last year, and funding from other sources, has provided sufficient funding for the building to go ahead.

Construction of the new museum began early in 2012, with the demolition of St Nicholas Hall in February.

Next there was an archaeological investigation and building began shortly after the investigation completed and its results were known.

The new museum, adjacent to the river, and opposite the Lower Castle Gate, was opened by the Duke of Norfolk on 24 June 2013.

Arundel Museum is a registered charity and relies on fundraising, membership and donations. The Museum is run by a board of trustees.

Their work is supported by over 100 dedicated volunteers, without whom the Museum could not operate.

Arundel Castle - England Admission Prices

Adults £4.00
Children under 6 years Free
Children (6-16 years) £3.00
Family (2 adults and 3 children) £8.00
One adult family (1 adult and up to 3 children) £6.00
Seniors £3.50
Students £3.50
Members Free


Arundel is easily accessible by road. The Mill Road Car Park (pay and display) is next to the Museum. Postcode for sat nav BN18 9PA. By Train: Regular trains every day. The Museum is a 10-minute walk from Arundel station. By Bus: The number 9 and 85 both stop in Arundel, making your trip easily accessible from Chichester and the Worthing direction.

Use Google Maps to get directions at Google Maps






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