New Wardour Castle

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New Wardour Castle
New Wardour Castle 01.JPG
New Wardour Castle
New Wardour Castle is located in Wiltshire
New Wardour Castle
Location within Wiltshire
General information
Architectural style Palladian
Town or city Tisbury, Wiltshire
Country England
Coordinates 51°02′16″N 2°05′38″W / 51.0378°N 2.0940°W / 51.0378; -2.0940Coordinates: 51°02′16″N 2°05′38″W / 51.0378°N 2.0940°W / 51.0378; -2.0940
Construction started 1769
Completed 1776
Client Arundell family
Design and construction
Architect James Paine

New Wardour Castle is an English country house at Wardour, near Tisbury in Wiltshire, built for the Arundell family. The house is of a Palladian style, designed by the architect James Paine, with additions by Giacomo Quarenghi, who was a principal architect of the Imperial Russian capital city Saint Petersburg.

The building of the house was begun in 1769 and completed in 1776, with additional buildings being added in the 1970s and 1980s. From 1961 to 1990, it was the home of Cranborne Chase School, an independent boarding school for girls.

New Wardour Castle is approximately 1.5 miles (2 km) from Old Wardour Castle, which was left as a landscape feature of the parkland of the new house. This was formerly the home of the Arundell family before it was slighted in the Civil War.

Building structure

New Wardour Castle, near Tisbury, Wiltshire, UK.

The building is constructed from limestone ashlar with hipped Welsh slate roofs and comprises a square main block with flanking pavilions. The north front has a rusticated basement below a piano nobile, with mezzanine and attic floor over.

The house also includes a Roman Catholic chapel and a rare rotunda staircase. There are many painted ceilings and ornate fireplaces, typical of the building's period.

Rotunda staircase

The rotunda staircase was designed by James Paine and is 144 feet (44 m) round.

The ground floor under the staircase is black and white marble, with exits to the north and south and with sweeping staircases on either side. The stairs can sometimes be fitted with glass uplighter candle lamps and a stair carpet.

The first floor has a wooden floor and also has Roman columns rising to the vaulted ceiling. The surrounding balustrade is made of fine leadwork with flowers covered in gold leaf and is topped by a wooden handrail. Leading off the first floor are four fine alcoves with tall wooden doors.

Also on the first floor is a pipe organ in wood, ivory and gold.

The ceiling is a high circular dome with a central window decorated with reliefs of musical instruments.

All Saints' Chapel

The Roman Catholic chapel which belonged to, and is integral to, the house, is known as All Saints Chapel, Wardour. It was enlarged in 1788 by Henry Arundell, 8th Baron Arundell of Wardour, to the designs of John Soane.[1] From its beginning, it served the needs of a substantial local recusant community and still holds regular Sunday masses.[2] Due to its exceptional acoustics, it is also sometimes used for musical events. Ownership of the chapel was transferred to the Wardour Chapel Trust[3] in the late 1890s, and the running costs and maintenance of this Grade I listed[4] chapel are now funded entirely through voluntary donations.

Parkland and garden

Plans for the grounds were suggested by Richard Woods in 1764, but these proved too expensive and in 1773 were revised by George Ingham. Capability Brown was then brought in and undertook extensive earth moving and tree planting between 1775 and 1783.

The current garden includes a ha-ha, a walled garden with a swimming pool, and a Camellia house.[5] There is a long driveway, which passes the Hexagonal cottage and leads up to the rear of the building and the chapel.

There is also a Temple, built as a folly, in a distinct area of the grounds referred to as the Temple Garden.[6]

Recent history

After the death in 1944 of John Francis, 16th and last Lord Arundell of Wardour, the building was rented and became the home of Cranborne Chase School. The school built new classrooms, studio dormitories and a dining-room extension on the south-eastern side of the main house, along with three staff houses to the west.

The school eventually closed in 1990. In 1992 the house along with five cottages, six tennis courts, and a swimming pool in the walled garden, was sold for under £1 million to Nigel Tuersley, and was converted into 10 luxury apartments by designer John Pawson, with Tuersley living in Apartment 1, which occupies the two main floors of the central block. Extensions and ancillary accommodation added by the school were mostly demolished.

The building has been designated by Historic England as a grade I listed building, with its grounds being grade II* listed.[7] It was used in the filming of the television mini-series First Born (1988), and in the filming of Billy Elliot, a movie released in 2000.

In 2010 Jasper Conran bought Apartment 1, planning to live between there and Ven House.



  1. ^ "Wardour Castle Chapel". Retrieved 2007-12-29.
  2. ^ "The Parish of The Sacred Heart, Tisbury, and All Saints, Wardour". Clifton Diocese. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  3. ^ "Wardour Chapel Trust". Charity Commission. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  4. ^ Historic England. "Wardour Castle Chapel (1300093)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  5. ^ "Camellia House and garden walls, at Wardour Castle". Retrieved 2007-12-29.
  6. ^ "Dairy in Temple Gardens". Retrieved 2007-12-29.
  7. ^ "Wardour Castle". Retrieved 2007-12-29.

External links

  • A feature on New Wardour Castle on the BBC Wiltshire Website
  • An article on New Wardour Castle from 24 hour Museum
  • English Heritage - New Wardour Castle
  • New Wardour Castle sold to Jasper Conran in 2010 - good photographs
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