Castle Drogo Feature Image

The History of Castle Drogo

LocationDrewsteignton, West Devon, England (Google map location)
Open for VisitorsClosed until 14th March
Owned byNational Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty
Official WebsiteCastle Drogo
Rooms availableNo

Situated in Drewsteignton, West Devon, Castle Drogo is a breathtaking structure that has its origins in the early 20th century. The Castle was constructed by Edwin Lutyens, a renowned architect in England at the time, who incorporated artistic and architectural elements from eight centuries into its design. It is known for being the last Castle to be built in England. It overlooks the river Teign, adding a picturesque backdrop to the structure’s unique combination of medieval and modern architecture.

History

The story behind Castle Drogo’s origin begins in medieval England. Drogo de Teigen (also known as Drewe de Teigen) was a Norman baron who owned a mansion in Drewseignton. Records from 1275 written during the rule of Henry II and his son Richard I, which identified the nearby village (Drewsteignton) as Teynton Drue, indicated that the Drewe family owned lands in the surrounding region.

Mr. Julius Drewe, an English retailer, and businessperson purchased lands to the South and West of Drewseignton. He believed that the Drewe family were his ancestors and named the Castle after his supposed relative, Drogo de Teigen. He was the founder of “The Home and Colonial Stores”, one of England’s largest retail chains, and chose to retire at an early age after reaping significant profits from his venture.

One of England’s most renowned architects, Edwin Lutyens, was commissioned by Mr. Drewe to design Castle Drogo. The construction began in 1911 but was completed only in 1930 due to delays caused by World War I and the Great Depression. It was used as a shelter for homeless babies during Germany’s airstrikes on London in World War II by Julius’ wife, Frances. Finally, Anthony Drewe and his son, Dr. Christopher Drewe, gave Castle Drogo and the surrounding land to the National Trust in 1974.

Architecture

Castle Drogo Front
Castle Drogo”, by T J Wright, is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Edwin Lutyens designed Castle Drogo so that it combined Tudor and medieval architectural influences with modern architecture. Set in a 600-acre parkland, it is one of the last houses in England to be constructed entirely out of granite. Lutyens also designed the beautiful gardens on the property. Castle Drogo was designed around the same time that Lutyens was designing New Delhi, and some similarities can be observed between his two projects. Interestingly, only two Devon masons worked on the construction, further delaying Castle Drogo’s completion.

Castle Drogo consists of a three-story main block, with a four-story family and service wing to its side. It has a working portcullis and battlements and more modern features with electric provisions and lifts. The granite exterior has mullioned windows and houses several rooms with intricate tapestries. The “Le Char de Triomphe” tapestry, which depicts the military victories of Louis XIV, is placed at the centre of the dining hall and is the jewel of the Castle’s collection. The famous Gobelins Factory made the tapestry of Paris and supposedly hung it in Versailles Palace.

Castle Drogo has been undergoing repairs to prevent damage from water leakage. Additionally, there is a viewing tower on the property, which provides a great view of Dartmoor and the region’s picturesque landscapes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the reason behind Castle Drogo’s name?

Mr. Julius Drewe, an English retailer, and businessman believed that he was the successor of Drogo de Teigne, a Norman baron who owned lands surrounding Drewseignton during the reign of Henry II. His supposed connection to the Drewe family inspired Mr. Julius Drewe to name the Castle after his ancestor.

How was Castle Drogo designed?

Edwin Lutyens was the chief architect of Castle Drogo. He revived medieval and Tudor architectural styles through this design and combined them with more modern amenities such as electrical fittings and lifts.

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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