In 1068, de Montgomery started construction on an earth and wood fortification that would later be replaced with masonry, starting with the gatehouse in 1070. Over the next 100 years, the walls would rebuilt using Sussex flintwork which you can still see on the walls.
this is a closeup of how several of the walls look
Although the battlements and turrets were restored in the 19th century, most of the walls are original. When de Montgomery’s son Robert rebelled against King Henry I, his lands (including Arundel) were confiscated and in 1138 the castle was granted as her dower to Queen Adelize of Louvain (Henry I’s widow). She later married William d’Aubigny (d’Albini) who became the Earl of Sussex and who replaced the original wood tower with ashlar stone brought over from Normandy.
In 1975, the 17th Duke, Miles, began a massive restoration project of the entire castle and although the castle had not been used as a residence in many years, in 1987 the 18th (and present Duke) decided to move his family into the castle and make it their home. Since then, the interior of the house has been restored and decorated in the Victorian style and an impressive garden has been added. The estate includes a large park which is open every day (free of charge) and the farmland surrounding the castle is very picturesque.
The Gatehouse Tower is the oldest part of the castle and dates from around 1070. The entrance archway is original and inside is an accurate Victorian re-creation of the portcullis mechanism.
The first floor apartments have been known as “Queen Matilda’s Room” since the 18th century after the daughter of Henry I who may have stayed her with her step-mother Adeliza. The two arched Norman windows are original.
Up 131 steps, the Keep is 59 feet by 67 feet and is 30 feet high and was built in 1138 by William d’Albini.
Some of the late 14th century fireplaces can still be seen.
Up a narrow staircase is a wall walk with some gorgeous views of the town and surrounding countryside.
Also in this area are the castle’s well (which is over 100 feet deep and goes down to the water table below) and and a small chapel - St. Martin’s Chapel. The two arched windows are also originals.
The “house” portion of the castle contains a number of “state rooms” that are open to the public. Since pictures are not permitted, I’ve scanned some of the pictures from the guide book.
These rooms display many of the family’s collection of antiques, including furniture, armor and weapons (a few pieces are from the 15th century), artwork and tapestries.
The family Chapel was built in the late 19th century and is very impressive with beautiful Victorian carved moldings and stained glass windows. This picture really does not do it justice - I thought it was simply breathtaking.
Also impressive is the Baron’s Hall. At 133 feet in length and 50 feet in height, it was built during the late Victorian era.
No country house would be complete without a library and Arundel’s is 122 feet long and of carved Honduran mahogany. The furniture dates from the 1846 visit by Queen Victoria. The library contains over ten thousand books, collected by the 9th and 11th Dukes and contains numerous volumes and materials relating to Catholic history.
The Fitzalan Chapel
the chapel ceiling
Chip has always enjoyed landscaping so he is fine with looking around at gardens (and taking lots of pictures!)
One of the more unusual aspects is a rockwork “mountain” planted with palms and ferns with a version of “Oberon’s Palace” sitting on top (it is to the left of the cathedral in this picture).
Inside the palace is a crown fountain which I thought was a lot of fun!!
It provided some great views of the castle from slightly different angles and I was surprised that we were the only ones out there!
Here are some additional pictures:
I just love this one with the fall colors
from underneath the old bridge
another entrance from across another bridge; flanked by the Howard lion and the Fitzalan horse
turrets – what’s not to love?!!
I love shots like this!
Having eaten a large English breakfast, we weren’t really that hungry at lunchtime so we went to the castle’s café and took a break with drinks and desert before we headed out.
*all information is from the castle guidebook