Arundel CastleThe castle at Arundel was constructed shortly after the Norman Conquest of Britain by Robert de Montgomery in circa 1067. Less than a hundred years later, the castle passed into the hands of William d'Albini who would become the 2nd Duke of Arundel in 1155. Ever since that day, the castle has remained almost consistently the seat of the Dukes of Norfolk.
The castle fortress which domineeringly overlooks the River Arun was largely constructed in the 19th century on its earlier Norman foundations. The oldest part of Arundel Castle, built in 1068 is the motte, a mound which rises to some 100 feet. You'll find another Norman survivor in the inner gatehouse which was built in 1070. In the Keep, you'll see 12th century fireplaces while the floor below was built in the same era to hold siege provisions. If you've got the stamina to climb over 130 steps to the top of the keep, you'll be well rewarded with superb views around Arundel and its surrounds.
Besieged during the Civil War (1642-1645), Arundel Castle fell first to the Royalists and then again to William Waller who led Cromwell's Parliamentarian Force. It wallowed in its own ruins for over fifty years before some reconstruction was carried out in 1718. Major works were later commissioned by the 11th Duke of Norfolk in 1787. On your tour, don't miss one of his achievements, the Gothic Library. However, the bulk of what you see here today was the work of Henry, the 15th Duke of Norfolk. To suit the dawn of the 20th century, he fitted this castle fortress cum residential home with new fangled systems such as electric lights and central heating.
You'll notice the many artefacts and relics which hail back over centuries of Catholic belief. The Fitzalan Chapel (1380) has been the burial place of the family for centuries while there's no better example of the Catholic Revival in 19th century Britain than the Private Chapel. There are more relics in the Dining Room. Originally built by the 11th Duke and modified by the 15th, the room now holds a display case with a prayer book from the 16th century and a rosary which was held by Mary Queen of Scots en route to her execution.
These castle walls have seen a family history as turbulent as the centuries which rolled over. One Duke was executed, another sentenced indefinitely to the Tower and yet another beheaded for trying to marry Mary Queen of Scots. Their long adherence to Roman Catholicism has seen two cardinals and one saint. As such, the centuries and the people who lived here have accumulated a wealth of treasure, artefacts and simple luxuriousness. On your visit you'll see heraldic items, antique furniture from as late as the 16th century and artwork from painters such as Van Dyck, Reynolds, Gainsborough, Canaletto and that's just to name a few.
Arundel Castle really does have it all. Superb views from the Keep, Norman, Gothic and Victorian architecture complemented by beautiful antiques which is all set within two acres of lovely gardens. Throughout the year, Arundel Castle also stages a number of special events which are normally included in the entry price. They host an unusual and exciting range such as medieval history and re- enactment days, jousting displays, falconry displays and car rallies.
Address: Arundel Castle, Arundel
Postcode: BN18 9AB
Town/city or near: Arundel
County: West Sussex
Open from Saturday 31 March to Sunday 28 October 2007. Open Tuesday to Sunday inclusive throughout the season.. Closed on Mondays (except for Bank Holiday Mondays).
Fitzalan Chapel, Gardens & Grounds 10.00am - 5.00pm
Restaurant 10.30am - 4.30pm
Shop 10.30am - 5.00pm
Castle Keep 11.00am - 4.30pm
Main Castle Rooms 12 noon - 5.00pm
Last entry 4.00 pm
Entrance will be via the Lower Lodge in Mill Road. The High Street Lodge will open only for special events and on especially busy days.