Walk through the halls that hold a thousand years of history. The magnificent Arundel Castle in Arundel, West Sussex, England was built in the 11th century as a royal stronghold for the Earl of Montgomery. It guarded the town against French invasion at the time that Arundel was still a busy port with ships sailing inland through the Arun River.

Arundel Castle witnessed the unfolding of history, from the Wars of the Roses, the Tudor period, and the Civil War. It served as the venue for the marriage of England’s future king Henry IV to Mary de Bohun in 1380. It was also visited by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1846. Since the 16th century, the castle is the seat of the Dukes of Norfolk.

Today, it is one of the longest inhabited castles in the United Kingdom, with beautiful gardens and impressive interiors.

Arundel Castle. MrsEllacott [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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Early History

There were two families involved in the history of Arundel Castle – the Fitzalans and the Howards. With the death of Roger Montgomery, the Norman Lord and cousin of William the Conqueror in 1094, the estate was transferred to his son Hugh and later passed on to his elder brother, Robert of Bellême. However, Robert was exiled and the estates were secured by Henry I.

The picturesque view of Arundel castle in 1840. [Public Domain]

The castle became a Royal property until 1138 when it was taken over by William d’Aubigny, First Earl of Arundel, who made significant upgrades to the castle. Henry II took over the castle after William’s death in 1176. He spent a large amount on restructuring the castle. It was eventually offered back to the d’Aubigny family by King Richard I. The d’Aubigny’s last male line then married into the Fitzalan family in 1243.

Interior Quadrangle of the Castle. [Public Domain]

The Fitzalan line ceased with the marriage of Mary Fitzalan to Thomas Howard, the 4th Duke of Norfolk.

Arundel Castle from Up Close. [Public Domain]

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Current Times

At present, the castle is owned by the Dukes of Norfolk, the 18th Duke and the Earl Marshal of England. It is open to the public for viewing.

Arundel castle, South East England” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by giborn_134
Entrance of the Arundel Castle. Antoine Lamielle [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The quadrangle outside the castle greets visitors with turrets and chimney stacks. The Victorian-designed interiors feature a collection of eclectic paintings like the Canaletto landscapes in the drawing room.

The Wall of The Castle. “Arundel Castle” (CC BY 2.0) by Dmitry Dzhus

It also features artifacts, tapestries, and furniture. There are armory displays with battle and ceremonial weapons, galleries with family portraits, and a chapel with stained glass and Purbeck marble columns.

Arundel Castle” (CC BY 2.0) by Dmitry Dzhus
The Courtyard of the Castle. Mark Tollerman from London, UK [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Several movies and television series were shot in Arundel Castle, like Wonder Woman (2017), The White Princess (2017), The Young Victoria (2009), and Dr. Who (1963-1989).

Motte and Quadrangle of the Castle. The original uploader was 98octane at English Wikipedia. [CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
The Library of the Castle. “Arundel Castle Library” (CC BY 2.0) by Dmitry Dzhus
Arundel Castle from Up Top. “Arundel Castle” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by montpelier

Interesting Facts About Arundel Castle

  • Arundel Castle has a long history.  The castle was built during the 11th century and was rebuilt during the 18th and 19th century.
  • It was owned by several kings. Henry I, Henry II, and Richard I,  the Lionheart, owned the castle at one time.
  • The Fitzalan Chapel remains a burial place up until today. The 14-century old chapel is still the burial place for all Dukes of Norfolk.
  • It was damaged during the civil war. The English Civil War from 1642 to 1645 caused great damage to the castle.
  • The oldest feature is its motte. The castle’s oldest feature is the artificial mound constructed in 1068.

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