Tutbury Castle

The History of Tutbury Castle

LocationTutbury, County of Staffordshire, England (Google Maps)
Open for VisitorsYes
Owned byDuchy Of Lancaster
Official WebsiteTutbury Castle
Rooms AvailableYes (Weddings, Events)

Overlooking the River Dove, Tutbury Castle is known to be built after the Norman invasion and later became a gorgeous medieval fortress. The castle has seen many actions during the Anarchy, the rebellion against Henry II in 1173, the Second Barons War, and the Civil War. However, it is most famously known as the prison where Mary, Queen of Scots, was imprisoned. Apart from this, it is also known to host various Tutbury Castle Ghosts.


The construction of Tutbury Castle was begun shortly after the Norman Conquest by Hugh d’Avranches. Hugh held the manor for a while but exchanged it for the Earldom of Chester. In 1071 the castle was granted to Henry de Ferrers by William the Conqueror. One of the Norman lords had erected a motte and bailey castle on a high ridge above the River Dove.

The Ferrers family had a tumultuous relationship with the crown, and as a result, Tutbury Castle suffered. In 1173, the Ferrers, the then Earl of Derby, sided with Prince Henry against Henry II, and the castle was besieged and severely damaged. The Ferrers rebelled again in 1264, following Simon de Montfort in his mission to oust Henry III. The castle was once again besieged and suffered damage at the hands of the royal troops. Henry III seized the castle and gave it to his son Edmund, the Earl of Lancaster.

The castle was sacked again in 1322; however, it eventually became a royal fortress when Henry IV came to the throne. In 1449, Henry VI gave the castle to Margaret of Anjou as part of her marriage settlement. The North Tower, also known as Queen Margaret’s Tower, was built during Queen Margaret’s ownership.

The long and often bloody history of Tutbury Castle holds interesting incidences from the Elizabethan era. The castle’s history highlights that Mary, Queen of Scots, was imprisoned here on four separate occasions. During her imprisonment at the castle, Mary was implicated in the Babington Plot to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I, a link that finally convinced Elizabeth to order Mary’s execution.

Tutbury was besieged again during the Civil War when a Royalist garrison repelled an attack by Parliament in 1643. However, in 1646 a heavy artillery bombardment forced the castle defenders to surrender. Parliament ordered the castle slighted so it could not be used against them, but the ‘slighting’ of Tutbury Castle was only partially completed. Since then, the castle has never been allowed to become a complete ruin and was never abandoned again.


Tutbury Castle, by steve p2008, is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Tutbury Castle is composed of a pair of outer baileys flanking a D-shaped inner bailey. The oldest part of the castle is a Norman chapel, evident from its foundations. Apart from that, the oldest remnant is the early 14th-century gate tower in the inner bailey. The castle is set on 38 acres, perched on a grassy ledge that overlooks the beautiful Dove Valley with a river below, which provides scenic views.

There is a medieval herb garden spread out on the lawn, an authentic recreation of a Tudor garden, a beautifully preserved Great Hall, and the King’s Bedroom. The tower that now tops the motte is not original but was built in the 18th century as a folly. Tutbury Castle opening times are Thursday – Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm.

Tutbury Castle Weddings have become really popular because of the beautiful setting. The Great Hall is furnished with authentic Tudor and Stuart furniture and can seat 40 guests for a wedding ceremony and 34 for a small intimate reception.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Tutbury Castle?

Tutbury Castle is located in the village of Tutbury in the county of Staffordshire, England. Tutbury is easily accessible by road and rail. The nearest railway station to the castle is the Tutbury / Hatton station, less than a 10-minute walk away. There are regular buses available from Derby and Burton on Trent, and the East Midlands airport is a 30-minute car journey away.

When was Tutbury Castle built?

Tutbury Castle was initially built around 1068 by Hugh d’Avranches who was granted the lands by William I.

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.
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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.

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