|East Lulworth, Wareham, Dorset, England (Google Map Location)
|Open for Visitors
|Temporarily closed, opens on 27th March 2022
|Available for weddings and stays
Built in the early 17th century, Lulworth Castle is a picturesque site of immense historical significance in East Lulworth, Dorset. It is situated in the scenic Lulworth Estate close to the famous Lulworth Cove and the Durdle Door in a twenty square mile countryside setting. Lulworth Castle was originally built as a hunting lodge for aristocrats and was renovated and refurbished multiple times in the 18th and 19th centuries, with different architectural styles being incorporated. For centuries, the Castle has been the residence of the Weld family, who came into its possession in 1641. The Castle grounds are home to St. Mary’s Chapel also, one of the first Roman Catholic chapels to be constructed since the Protestant Reformation. Lulworth Castle is open to visitors and makes an excellent retreat, with vast parkland and woodland walks, a children’s playground, and a Castle tearoom.
Lulworth Castle was originally built as a hunting retreat for royalty in 1608 by Thomas Howard, the 3rd Viscount Howard of Bindon and grandson of the 3rd Duke of Norfolk. King James I favoured Howard and even visited the Castle in 1615. Lulworth Castle was then purchased by Humphrey Weld, the son of a wealthy merchant from London. Humphrey was a loyal follower of the Royalist cause during the English Civil War. The Parliamentarians briefly occupied the Castle during the Civil War and caused significant damage to the property. The besiegers stripped lead from the roof, and the Castle’s interior needed refurbishment.
After the War, Sir Humphry was well rewarded for his support of the Royalist cause and was made the Governor of Sandisfoot Castle and Portland. Charles II even stayed briefly at the Castle- a stay that nearly drove the Wend family into bankruptcy. Furthermore, the anti-Catholic laws of the time led to Humphrey being stripped of his official positions, who passed away in 1685, leaving behind a very meagre inheritance for his successors.
Sir Edward Weld (Senior) was married at a young age to Catherine Elizabeth Aston, the daughter of the 4th Lord Aston of Forfar. Catherine later applied for a divorce because their marriage hadn’t been consummated but lost the case. Edward was then sued for libel. In 1745, anti-Catholic sentiments were high after Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s unsuccessful attempt at grabbing the throne. Sir Edward was associated with Jacobites and imprisoned until his conviction was thrown out because of falsified evidence.
His son, Edward married Mary-Ann Smythe after his first wife passed away. Following Edward’s death, Mary-Ann became the mistress of the Prince of Wales, and it is even speculated that the two were married in secret. After Edward Weld Jr’s death, his younger brother Thomas Weld inherited the Estate. Thomas Weld refurbished the interiors of the Castle and even added to the library’s extensive collection. George III also visited Lulworth Castle during this time.
St. Mary’s Chapel, which stands on the Castle grounds, was built in 1786 as the Wends’ family chapel. Its construction was authorized by King George III on the condition that it did not look like a chapel from the outside. It is the first Roman Catholic Chapel to be constructed in England since the Protestant Reformation. After the French Revolution, members of the French Royal family were invited to seek refuge at Lulworth Castle. Charles X even briefly stayed at the Castle on his way to Edinburgh.
While Lulworth Castle was initially designed to be a hunting retreat, it has been renovated multiple times and stands today as a magnificent mock-Medieval, Victorian mansion. The Castle has a plain exterior without any decorative features and has four towers at the corners of the square. The towers are four stories tall and provide an excellent view of the surrounding coastal area and countryside.
The interiors of Lulworth Castle are mostly bare, with modern beams supporting the exterior. Only a few decorative pieces such as carvings around the fireplace remain in the Castle. St. Mary’s Chapel, situated in the Castle grounds, is a dome-shaped neo-classical structure built in the fashion of other temples constructed in the 18th century. The Chapel has four half-domed apsidal wings and houses a marble alter from Rome.
Lulworth Castle was renovated multiple times in the 18th and 19th centuries and was turned into an elaborate country home in a Palladian style. Thomas Weld refurbished the interiors of the Castle in the neoclassical, Adam style of architecture famous in the 18th century. After a terrible fire caused significant damage in 1929, Lulworth Castle was in near-complete ruins. The Castle was rebuilt in the 1970s and was brought back to its former glory.
- Hamlet (1913) – Lulworth Cove, which is situated close to Lulworth castle in the Estate is featured in this 1913 adaptation of Shakespeare’s famous play, Hamlet.
- The Boys in Blue (1982) – Lulworth Cove situated along the Jurassic Coast features in this family comedy. The movie shows the story of two policemen in a little town and their adventures.
- Patrol Men (2010) – This horror movie directed by David Campion and Ben Simpson features Lulworth Cove located in the Lulworth Estate.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who owns Lulworth Castle?
Lulworth Castle has been in possession of the Wend Family since 1641, when Humphrey Weld, Governor of Sandisfoot Castle and Portland, purchased the property.
Can Lulworth Castle be booked for occasions?
Lulworth Castle can be booked as a wedding venue. Visitors can also stay in the Lulworth Estate and choose from various quaint cottages.
Have you visited this castle before? If yes, why not share some beautiful pictures with us!
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