Arundel Castle: 10th October 2014.
Arundel Castle is claimed as one of the oldest constantly occupied country houses in Britain. It’s the seat of the Dukes of Norfolk, although the present Duke doesn’t actually live there, It’s still completely habitable, though, and packed with memorabilia of previous members of the family.
The original castle was built on the orders of William the Conqueror on a low hill overlooking the Arun river; a particularly vulnerable point, if anyone wanted to invade. Work started in 1067, but, of course, it was extended and modified considerably since.
Names which crop up constantly around the castle are Fitzalan and Howard; we’ve already visited the Fitzalan family chapel. These date back to the 13th Century, when John Fitzalan married the heiress of the castle, and was granted the Earldom of Arundel. The Fitzalan line ceased in 1580, when Mary Fitzalan married Thomas Howard, the 4th Duke of Norfolk, whose descendants still nominally hold the castle.
It was damaged considerably in the Civil War in the 17th Century, but successive Dukes restored it, converting it gradually from a defensive work to a country house.
But, they retained the old Norman keep, for its antiquity and picturesque quality.
Photography is prohibited within the house, so we’re rather picture-poor in that department. But, I shall try to paint a word-picture next week.