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Doddington Castle (Delves Hall)

Doddington Castle sits in the landscaped park of Sir Thomas Broughton's Doddington Hall. The castle is a formerly moated 14th Century tower house. Doddington Hall and its estate is the site of a major restoration project.

The castle was probably built by Sir John Delves in the 1360s. He was given a licence to crenellate in 1365, although a second licence to crenellate was given to his great nephew in 1403 so the battlements might have been added later.

Sir John Delves

Sir John Delves was a squire to Sir James Audley at the Battle of Poitiers in August 1356.

During the battle Sir James and his retinue distinguished themselves by their valour to such a degree that Edward, Prince of Wales (the Black Prince), awarded him an annuity of 500 marks which James gifted to his four squires. Sir John continued to distinguish himself, eventually becoming a Justice of the King's Bench.

The castle is a three storey tower house with its entrance at first floor level. The ground floor is vaulted and it features embattled corner turrets which rise high up above the battlements.

The castle continued down the Delves family line.

During the Civil War the castle was in the hands of Sir Thomas Delves, 3rd Baronet Delves. He held the castle for the Parliamentarians. In January 1944 Lord Byron besieged and took the castle for King Charles, but it was quickly recaptured.

In the early 17th Century the castle was significantly extended. A large manor house, known as Doddington Hall, was added to the east side of the structure.

The family lived there until the late 18th Century. By this time it had come into the possession of Sir Thomas Broughton. He had the 17th Century manor house demolished leaving just a loggia and Jacobean staircase on the east side of the castle. He left the 14th Century tower intact as a landscape feature.

Doddington Hall

The new hall that Sir Thomas had built is just 500 metres south of the castle. It was designed by Samuel Wyatt in a neoclassical style. Some commentators have acclaimed the hall as Wyatt's finest commission.

The new Doddington Hall was built between 1777 and 1790 and included landscaping of the parkland around the hall by Capability Brown.

Further improvements were made to the hall in the 19th Century.

During the Second World War Doddington Hall was used by the US Army as a headquarters. General Patton's Fifteenth Army was also briefly headquartered here in November 1944.

After the war the hall was used as a girls' school until the late 1990s.

Today the castle and hall are part of the Doddington Estate. The hall and the other buildings on the estate are undergoing an extensive conservation and renovation programme.

The outside of the hall and the outside of the castle are open to the public on selected weekends between April and August. The estate also participates in the National Heritage Open Days Event. There are no facilities at the castle.

Status: Heritage Site
Owner: Doddington Estate
Tel: +44 (0)1270 820 263
Opening Times: October to March 10am-2pm second Sunday of the month / April to September 10am-2pm selected weekends and open days

Doddington Castle from a distance
Doddington Castle from a distance

The 18th Century Doddington Hall
The 18th Century Doddington Hall

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