Before we start analyzing Victorian castles, let’s dive into history and understand the key concepts. The Victorian era is a period that is directly related to the reign of Queen Victoria in the UK. Those were the years 1837-1901. The period can be called an era of contrasts.
The Victorian Era and Its Key Features
On the one hand, this time is characterized by the rise of economic development and the welfare of society. The era was characterized by the development of capitalism and the Industrial Revolution. In the mid-19th century, the UK produced half of the world’s cotton fabrics, coal, and iron. The country became the largest exporter of equipment and machinery. The first subway in the world was built in London in 1863. A few years later, telegraph lines connected Britain with Africa, Asia, and the United States.
In parallel with the above, the ideas of conservatism remained the leading ones for Britain in the Victorian era. The Queen was brought up in Protestant traditions. The basis of Victorian morality was the principle of “reward for virtue”. This was a clear list of norms of behavior in society, which in later times would be identified with a certain hypocrisy. For conservative Victorian morality, liberalism and individual freedom, which were developing in parallel in artistic circles, were unacceptable. Moreover, Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution were accused of defamation of the Holy Scriptures.
Victorian-era castles have their unique history. Castell Coch was built in the north of Cardiff in Wales. It is a 19th-century castle in the Gothic Revival style. It was built on the remains of a 13th-century fortification. The castle was rebuilt of stone and consisted of a watchtower, a closed courtyard, a fortress, and other towers. Writing an essay about it, you can clarify that it was built as a summer residence for the family of the 3rd Marquess of Bute. The castle has a single entrance. Its most striking feature is its round towers and conical roofs. While studying at university, you can use the story about it as a sample of the essay for your academic paper. Also, here you can see that the drawing room, hall, and bedrooms of Lord Bute and Lady Bute are decorated in the 19th century high Victorian Gothic style. The drawing room has an Aesop fable, and Lady Bute’s bedroom is influenced by Moorish, Gothic, and French styles.
The castle was built between 1844 and 1850 near Peckforton Hill for Lord John Tollemache. At the time, he was the largest landowner in Cheshire. The castle was built as a family home. But its design was similar to a medieval castle that could withstand a siege. It was equipped with a watchtower, large towers, a dry moat, and a portcullis. While attending a course on the history of architecture, you may hear that the castle was even considered the last serious fortified building built in England. It is three stories high and has a separate five-story tower. The buildings are located around a courtyard. To the west of it are the carriage house, stables, kitchens, service rooms, and a rectangular bell tower.
The outer walls of the castle are framed by slender towers. In its eastern wing, there is a long gallery. There was also a library there. The round tower of the castle has an octagonal dining room. Although the castle did not have a formal garden, it had vegetable gardens and an orchard. There was a family chapel on the east side of the castle.
This is a Victorian castle that was built between 1847 and 1857. It is located in the town of Stornoway in Scotland. It was built as a country house for Sir James Madison, who made his fortune in the opium trade. Writing various examples of essays, you can also add that opium exported from China and India was often mixed with tobacco by smokers.
Victorian wall paintings were discovered during the reconstruction of the estate. Experts described the artwork as an unusual example of interior design popular during the reign of Queen Victoria. Ferns were painted on the walls as a way to decorate rooms. Paintings of exotic ferns by an unknown artist were found under the wallpaper in the Morning Room. In Victorian times, ferns were popular in general.
The history of castle has its roots in the Middle Ages. But we attribute it to the Victorian period because of the transformation that began in 1868. John Crichton-Stewart, Marquess of Bute, ordered William Burgess to rebuild the castle. So, it was expanded and enriched with a Gothic Revival design. The rebuilding process began with the Clock Tower. Burgess’s craftsmanship made the castle the most famous of all 19th-century fantasy castles. Cardiff Castle was considered to be the last surviving great masterpiece of the Gothic Revival.
Ashford Castle and Windsor Castle
Ashford Castle is located not far from Lough Corrib in Ireland. It combines medieval and Victorian architecture. The estate was built back in 1226, but in 1852 it was reconstructed and added Victorian-style extensions.
Windsor Castle is known for the royal family. And although it is not completely Victorian, it has its essential features. The Gothic design of Windsor was developed under the strict guidance of Queen Victoria, who decided to make changes. These were the main rooms of the castle used for meetings between her royal entourage. The queen’s views on design and architecture in this building have attached the name to certain aspects of Victorian architecture.
As you can see, the Victorian era is extremely interesting for its peculiarities. Its history can be studied from different aspects. One of the most important is the castles of this era. Each of them has its unique history, both in terms of creation and development. And their architecture and design of them allow us to better understand the trends and tendencies of that era.