Featured image of Donnington Castle

The History of Donnington Castle

LocationDonnington, Berkshire, England (Google Maps)
Open for VisitorsYes
Owned byEnglish Heritage
Official WebsiteDonnington Castle
Rooms AvailableNo

Donnington Castle is an ancient medieval castle constructed by The Adderbury family in 1386. The castle is an essential feature of the Tudor period and is listed as a scheduled ancient monument with the number 1007926. Castle’s structure was destroyed during the English Civil War, and the castle’s gatehouse is left. 


The Adderbury family initially owned the land of the castle since 1292. The original castle was built by Sir Richard Abberbury the Elder, the owner of the castle. Richard II gave the license to build the castle in 1386. The palace did switch a few hands over time. In 1398, it was sold to Thomas Chaucer, son of the poet Geoffrey Chaucer. This family of monarchs did not survive long, and later on, it was given to the Royal family as their property. Donnington Castle is of significant Royal importance since King Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Queen Elizabeth I frequently visited it in 1539, 1552, and 1568. In 1600, Queen Elizabeth I handed over the castle and its surrounding land to the 1st Earl of Nottingham, Charles Howard. After the First Battle of Newbury, it was handed over to the Parliamentarian John Packer family. 

In 1646, the Parliament voted to demolish the castle. The castle was destroyed in 1646, but its gatehouse survived. A few significant earthworks were carried out in the 17th century, still visible today. From 1833 to 1881, the land and the castle were owned by Winchcombe Henry Howard Hartley. It again passed onto the English Heritage and has been in its care ever since. The castle is now a scheduled ancient monument with a specific number. 


Donnington Castle Architecture
Donnington Castle, Newbury, Plan view”, by Matthew Prior, is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Donnington Castle was initially built in a rectangular shape with an irregular facade. The castle was enclosed by a curtain wall and had a round-shaped tower at its four corners. The courtyard of the original castle, which is not visible today, is assumed to have a hall, kitchens, and accommodation for guests. The castle had an excellent defence system which is still visible. The castle’s gatehouse is in marvellous shape and stands right erect in front of the palace. It was created with battlements and survived the castle’s destruction in 1646. It was not just for protection purposes but also had a guesthouse, halls, and servants’ quarters. During the 17th century, earthworks were carried out, still visible throughout the castle. 

Movie Features

  • A Hitch in Time (1978)- Directed by Jan Darnley-Smith and based on a true story, the movie was shot in The Donnington Castle.
  • The Saint (1997)- Donnington Castle appears in an episode of The Saint called ‘Little Girl Lost’, the first broadcast on 2nd December 1966.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why was Donnington Castle important?

Donnington Castle was built by Sir Richard Abberbury the Elder, the owner of the castle. The castle is essential due to its participation in the English Civil war led by King Charles 1. The castle acted as the headquarters of the war defence system.

Can you walk around Donnington Castle?

Donnington Castle is open throughout the year, and you can enjoy taking walks around its greenery and wildlife. The castle park is accessible from 7 am to 7 pm daily. The route can also be enjoyed as a trail run.

Have you visited this castle before? If yes, why not share some beautiful pictures with us!
You can email us your pictures of the castle at castrumtocastle@gmail.com. Please use the name of the castle in the subject line.
Also, don’t forget to mention your name and social media profile link if you want the credits!

Rate the Castle

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

He is a versatile E-Learning Support Officer and former Academic Officer at the University of York, United Kingdom. Not just an expert in education and technology, Debayan also has a deep love for castles and mountains. With a passion for travel, having explored 168+ cities worldwide, and a keen eye for photography, He brings a unique blend of experiences to the table. Specializing in E-learning content, IT support, AR development, and software engineering, Debayan has made a significant impact, educating over 200,000 students on Udemy.

Leave a Reply