Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Lulworth Castle

A Scheduled Monument in East Lulworth, Dorset

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »
Street or Overhead View
Contributor Photos »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.

Coordinates

Latitude: 50.6391 / 50°38'20"N

Longitude: -2.2087 / 2°12'31"W

OS Eastings: 385333.911279

OS Northings: 82178.537802

OS Grid: SY853821

Mapcode National: GBR 21Y.SGK

Mapcode Global: FRA 678D.1B0

Entry Name: Lulworth Castle

Scheduled Date: 26 October 1954

Last Amended: 17 April 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016069

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22963

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: East Lulworth

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: The Lulworths, Winfrith Newburgh and Chaldon

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

Details

The monument includes an early post medieval hunting lodge and later residence
known as Lulworth Castle situated on a gentle slope overlooking the South
Dorset Ridge and Worbarrow Bay to the south.
The building, which is Listed Grade II*, dates from the early 17th century and
was designed by Thomas Howard, the third Lord Bindon of Bindon House, as a
hunting lodge to serve the associated 1000 acre park which was licensed in
1605. Bindon was a courtier of King James I and it is likely that he would
have intended to entertain the Royal court at the new retreat, which may have
been deliberately located adjacent to the Royal Forest of Purbeck.
The building is square in plan, comprising three storeys with a basement and a
round four storey tower at each corner. The centre of the building forms a
small rectangular tower and contains flues and chimneys in corner turrets and
also provided access via a staircase onto the leaded roof. The outer walls of
the building are faced with Purbeck and Portland limestone, the eastern
frontage is faced with an ashlar dressing, while the remaining outer walls are
faced with limestone rubble, with the core a mixture of chalk and limestone.
The exterior of the building is thought to have been completed in 1609 and was
always comparatively plain in style. The principal concern was to create a
symmetrical effect, a factor reflected in the careful design and location of
the windows, most of which include two four-centred arch lights contained
within a square head. Additional external decoration such as the small
triumphal arch motif and elaborate doorway situated on the eastern side of the
house were added around 1700.
Despite its appearance and layout, the building was not intended to hold any
military significance. It became fashionable during the 17th century for
features from archaic and contemporary defensive structures to be incorporated
within domestic architecture. In this case, the four corner towers were
designed as buttresses rather than to serve a defensive function. The castle
proved to be of little strategic significance during the Civil War, although
it was extensively pillaged and the lead removed from the roof.
Completion of the interior of the building may have been hindered by a lack of
finance throughout the earlier 17th century. Following Bindon's death in 1611,
the site passed to the Earl of Suffolk, a favourite of the King. Suffolk was
made the High Treasurer of England in 1614 and is known to have entertained
James I at Lulworth Castle in 1615, although accusations of embezzlement in
1618 led to eventual loss of Royal favour. The first floor of the building is
likely to have held greatest significance at this time, and historical sources
suggest that the great chamber was dominated by a canopy for the chair of
state. However, the upkeep of the house proved beyond the means of the Suffolk
family and the second Earl of Suffolk died in 1640 leaving debts of 26,000
pounds.
The estate was sold to Humphrey Weld the following year and, after Bindon
House was destroyed by fire during the Civil War, Lulworth Castle became the
principal seat of the estate. It is unlikely that the building had been
occupied on a permanent basis previous to this time, as much of the interior
had remained unfinished. A re-modelling of the interior was initiated under
Edward Weld from the mid-18th century. Records and accounts suggest that this
work continued under Edward Weld (junior) and Thomas Weld (senior) well into
the later part of the century.
The ground underlying the castle slopes towards the east, from where the main
approach to the house was made. A wide terrace incorporating a podium was
constructed in order to shield the kitchens and servants quarters housed
within the basement from the view of visitors. The terrace was extended along
the southern and northern sides by 1765 following the plan of the castle; it
is enclosed by a stone balustrade which is carried on brick vaulting along the
eastern side.
The parkland surrounding the house was replaced by gardens following
occupation by the Weld family; a plan of 1726 provides an indication of the
intended form of these gardens. During 1773 the gardens were once again
replaced by parkland and enclosed by a brick wall. This work involved the
demolition of part of the adjacent village of East Lulworth. The boundary wall
incorporated four gatehouses which regulated access into the park. These
include the 17th century Park and Wareham Gate Lodges and the 18th century
North Lodge and Clare Towers. The parkland surrounding the house is on the
Register of parks and gardens, at Grade II.
Lulworth Castle was gutted by fire in 1929: the interior was destroyed and,
for some 50 years, the building remained completely un-roofed. The site
passed into state care in 1983 from which time a programme of consolidation
and repair work was undertaken by English Heritage. This included extensive
survey and photographic recording prior to restoration work.
Excluded from the scheduling are all modern fixtures and fittings, fence posts
relating to modern boundaries, gates and notice boards, although the ground
beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Lulworth Castle represents an unusually large post medieval hunting lodge
built to a compact plan. Despite later conversion into a residence, much of
the structure escaped major modification or re-building. The design of the
building reflects a contemporary taste for the use of `castle architecture'
within unfortified residences during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I.
Lulworth Castle is, however, unusual in that it represents one of only five
Elizabethan and Jacobean Houses known to possess a compact plan organised
around a central core. The setting of Lulworth Castle is typical of early
17th century hunting lodges, which were often isolated within a prominent part
of a deerpark. Hunting lodges were generally designed to entertain smaller
numbers of people than earlier large houses and, their increasing popularity
eventually contributed to a change in the lifestyle of the upper classes
during the 17th century. From this time, high status residences were often
located in isolation, often within parkland and the size of households
generally became smaller. The design of later houses not built as lodges was
also influenced by their former popularity. The significance of the
traditional great hall diminished, while the presence of a tower or sizable
flat roof at a high level became increasingly desirable. Lulworth Castle was
originally designed as a high status retreat, and successive owners continued
to enhance this status following the residential conversion. Although gutted
by fire in 1929, Lulworth Castle survives as an upstanding structure. It has a
largely undamaged vaulted basement and remains associated with the historical
parkland in which it was set.
The fire damage and subsequent weathering has removed much of the joinery and
plasterwork from the walls. This has provided an unusual opportunity to study
the bare fabric of a building of this type and a detailed archaeological
survey has been possible. This has enabled a detailed analysis of the
development of the building and has also advanced the techniques of
consolidation and repairs conducted to the structure. In addition,
considerable historical background is provided by the extensive documentation
contained within the archive of records maintained by the Weld family. This
includes private correspondance and official documents which provide an
insight into life at the house, as well as detailing the expenditure for
improvements and modifications to the building from 1641.
Lulworth Castle forms a dominant feature of the local landscape and is
associated with other historical features including the walled park, the
gatehouses, and the adjacent Roman Catholic chapel (the first to be
constructed after The Reformation) and the parish church both of which
are set within the grounds of the park.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 146
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 146
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 146
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 148
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 148
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 146
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 146
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 148
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 146
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 146
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 146
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 146
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 146
Jaggard, A, 'Archaeological Journal' in Lulworth Castle, , Vol. Vol 140, (1983), 46
Manco, J, Greenhalf, D, Girouard, M, 'Journal of Society of Architectural Historians' in Lulworth Castle in the seventeenth century, , Vol. Vol 33, (1991), 30
Manco, J, Greenhalf, D, Girouard, M, 'Journal of Society of Architectural Historians' in Lulworth Castle in the seventeenth century, , Vol. Vol 33, (1991), 30
Manco, J, Greenhalf, D, Girouard, M, 'Journal of Society of Architectural Historians' in Lulworth Castle in the seventeenth century, , Vol. Vol 33, (1991), 29
Manco, J, Greenhalf, D, Girouard, M, 'Journal of Society of Architectural Historians' in Lulworth Castle in the seventeenth century, , Vol. Vol 33, (1991), 29
Manco, J, Greenhalf, D, Girouard, M, 'Journal of Society of Architectural Historians' in Lulworth Castle in the seventeenth century, , Vol. Vol 33, (1991), 33-4
Manco, J, Greenhalf, D, Girouard, M, 'Journal of Society of Architectural Historians' in Lulworth Castle in the seventeenth century, , Vol. Vol 33, (1991), 30
Manco, J, Greenhalf, D, Girouard, M, 'Journal of Society of Architectural Historians' in Lulworth Castle in the seventeenth century, , Vol. Vol 33, (1991), 48
Manco, J, Greenhalf, D, Girouard, M, 'Journal of Society of Architectural Historians' in Lulworth Castle in the seventeenth century, , Vol. Vol 33, (1991), 32
Manco, J, Greenhalf, D, Girouard, M, 'Journal of Society of Architectural Historians' in Lulworth Castle in the seventeenth century, , Vol. Vol 33, (1991), 32
Manco, J, Greenhalf, D, Girouard, M, 'Journal of Society of Architectural Historians' in Lulworth Castle in the seventeenth century, , Vol. Vol 33, (1991), 47

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments

AncientMonuments.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact AncientMonuments.uk for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself.

AncientMonuments.uk is a Good Stuff website.