|Location||Yarpole, Herefordshire, England (Google Map)|
|Open for Visitors||Yes|
|Owned by||National Trust|
Croft Castle, spread across 1500 acres, is a monumental site located in the heart of Herefordshire. It includes a family house, woodland, farm, and parkland, surrounded by interesting history. Now, this lavish country property is maintained by the National Trust and is open to the public. Visit the Croft castle and explore rare furniture and decoration from the 17th to 19th century and flourishing woodland and parkland.
Croft castle was built in the 11th century, and since then, it has been the home of the Croft family and Croft baronets. The Croft family had a close relationship with their neighbours Mortimers of Wigmore and Ludlow. In 1461, they allowed the battle of Mortimer’s Cross to take place on the Croft land. At that time, it was the home of Sir John De Croft, who married the daughter of Owain Glyndwr.
The present Croft castle we see today was built in the 1660s. At that time, Herbert Croft was the Bishop of Hereford. He decided to replace the earlier building’s 30 yards in the west. The family owned the castle till 1746. Later, they suffered from a financial crisis following the South Sea Bubble and sold it to Richard Knight. He was the eldest son and heir of Richard Knight of Downton Hall in Herefordshire. He got married to Elizabeth Powell of Stanage Park. They had a daughter Elizabeth Knight who married Thomas Johnes of Llanfair Clydogau.
In the 1760s, Thomas Johnes decided to remodel the Croft Castle in Rocco-Gothic style. He hired Thomas Farnolls Pritchard, a famous architect, and got the Georgian sash windows, plasterwork ceilings, a gothic staircase, and designer chimneypieces added in the castle. In the 1950s, the castle was rebuilt by Thomas Baldwin but was demolished by the Forestry Commission in 1958. For more than 200 years, the castle remained untouched.
In 1799, the Croft castle was put up for sale by Thomas Johnes. Somerset Davies, MP for Ludlow, came forward and bought the castle estate. The family made further alterations to the castle, where the central section of gothic entrances was replaced with a mullioned bay window and an entrance with oak panelling. In 1923, the family sold the Croft castle back to Katherine, Lady Croft. In 1937, the service wing of the castle was demolished.
In 1957, the destruction of country houses in the 20th century gathered pace in England. The Croft family didn’t want the Croft castle to suffer the same fate. Therefore, they raised the endowment of the castle to the National Trust. The National Trust agreed to take it and opened it to the public in 1960. The Croft family still occupies the house, but it is managed and looked after by the National Trust.
Croft Castle is a large stone castle surrounded by a circular ditch, which is now all dried up. It has a rectangular plan with a central courtyard. The stone castle we see today is the replacement of an earth and timber castle standing on location in 1400 AD. The large stone blocks used to build this castle are very difficult to find today.
When you visit Croft castle, you will notice the quadrangular plan with narrow round towers located at each corner. On the north side of the castle, you will notice the turret. Also, the four-round towers with their original height and a restored basement can be seen today. The walls on the west and south-west are thicker than the rest of the structure and are believed to be constructed in the 15th century. You can easily differentiate the original design from the restored parts of the castle.
The castle has a Gothic interior, which was styled by Richard Knight in the 1700s. It includes large ornamental windows and a large grand hallway. The Dining room of the castle has Georgian decoration from 1913. The Oak room includes the panelling and chimneypiece from the late 17th century. The blue room of the castle has a ceiling from the 1750s and a chimneypiece from 1913. The Drawing room includes Georgian panelling and ceiling from the 18th century. You can see the original structure of the castle from the 12th century with a little renovation when you visit it. Also, you will find the decorations and furniture in the castle from each century.
The Croft Castle site also includes a Croft Church built around the 13th century. You can find the original medieval floor tiles designed at Malvern and a fine tomb with gothic work in it. The celure you will see above the altar is from the 17th century. It is painted with clouds and gilded stars design.
Garden and parkland on the Croft castle property include a three-acre walled garden and a Georgian stable block. It is filled with Spanish Chestnut trees, which were planted over 400 years ago. The main drive of the castle is lined with Beech and Oak trees. It will give the vibes that you are entering a whole new world of nature.
The Fishpool Valley on the estate was built in the 18th century. It includes descending ponds, a gothic pump-house, an ice house, a lime kiln, and a grotto. You will also find an Iron Age hill fort in the parkland.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Who lives at Croft Castle?
Croft Castle is the home of the Croft family. Although the National Trust maintains the estate, the house is still occupied by members of the Croft family.
Where is Croft Castle?
Croft Castle is located in the Civil Parish of Croft and Yarpole. It is a beautiful 1500 acre estate in Croft, Herefordshire. You can easily find this castle on Google Maps and reach the location.
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