Rowton Castle

The History of Rowton Castle

LocationShrewsbury, Shropshire, England (Google Map Location)
Open for VisitorsYes
Owned byRowton Castle Weddings
Official WebsiteRowton Castle
Rooms AvailableYes

Located near Shrewsbury in the beautiful countryside of Shropshire, Rowton Castle is a 17th-century structure that has mostly been used for residential purposes. The Castle’s ornate interiors and breathtaking landscape have made it a popular venue for weddings and stays. As it currently stands, Rowton Castle is predominantly a 17th -century country house with extensions and modifications in the 19th and 20th centuries.


According to historical records, the site of Rowton Castle has been occupied for well over a millennium. The first known mention of the site dates back to 1234 when it was used as a site for dwelling. Successive raids by Welsh armies during the 12th and 13th centuries along the Welsh border and in Shrewsbury destroyed these settlements. Little is known about the site’s ownership until the 15th century, when William Lyster, a merchant from Shrewsbury, was made Lord of the Manor. The Lyster family would go on to retain the ownership for the next four hundred years.

During the English Civil War that lasted from 1641 to 1651, Rowton Castle was in possession of Thomas Lyster, a loyal supporter of the Royalist cause. Thomas Lyster was also knighted and funded by the Royalists, due to which Parliamentarians targeted him. It is speculated that the Lyster family abandoned the Castle briefly after Parliamentarian forces besieged it.

In the late 17th century, Richard Lyster, then owner of Rowton Castle, passed away and left behind a sum of one thousand pounds to his heirs for the reconstruction of the Castle. The renovation work began in 1700, and the architect George Wyatt did additional construction work in the early 19th century.

Rowton Castle was owned by Henry Lyster, who passed away in the late 19th century. His wife, Lady Charlotte Lyster, handed over the estate to her nephew, Sir Montague Lowry Corry. He served as Private Secretary to Benjamin Disraeli, who was the British Prime Minister once in 1868 and again from 1874 to 1880. The estate was passed on to Sir Montague’s nephew, General N A Lowry in 1903.

The estate of Rowton Castle was sold by Major Lees, who was then the owner, to the Royal Normal College for the blind, which had been looking for a home for quite some time. The College was established in 1871 and provided education to visually impaired students between the age of sixteen and twenty-five. In 1953, a large part of the building was damaged due to fire, and the College was eventually relocated in 1978.

After lying neglected for eight years, construction work began to convert the remains into a luxury hotel that opened in 1989. Rowton Castle was taken over by Jack de Sousa, Bryan Cherrington, and Steve Parke. They were stalwarts in the hospitality and catering industry who further refurbished the castle. Today, the castle is one of the most popular venues in England for weddings and vacations.


Rowton Castle
Rowton Castle, by Richard Dorrell, is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The current 17th-century country home was constructed with a hipped slate roof and is made of coursed Alberbury breccia rubble with grey sandstone ashlar dressing. Rowton Castle is a two-storeyed house with an attic and basement. The Gothic Castle was built by George Wyatt and is an example of his signature style of combining classical interiors with a Gothic exterior design.

The house initially had five bays and had its northwest front remodelled with a new northeast wing added in the 18th century. The southeast front, which is the entrance, was also remodelled and had a porch attached. A large circular tower was added to the southeast along with service buildings. The latest refurbishments include interior refurbishment by Jaci Vianna, who was responsible for most of the Castle’s décor. She designed the interiors after gaining inspiration from Rowton Castle’s history and design styles from the period of its conception.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who owns Rowton Castle?

Rowton Castle was owned by the Lyster family since the 15th century for over four hundred years. After changing hands multiple times in the 18th and 19th centuries, it was converted into a luxury hotel in 1986.

Is Rowton Castle available for booking?

Rooms are available for booking in Rowton Castle. It is one of England’s most popular wedding venues and can be booked for exclusive use by customers.

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