Greystoke Castle is a large castellated mansion house. It was mostly reconstructed in the 19th Century, but has its origins in early medieval times. Today it is still part of a functioning estate and, although it is not ordinarily open to the public, it is open as an event, wedding and corporate hospitality venue.
Greystoke Castle was constructed in 1069 by Llyulph de Greystoke. It was originally a high wooden pele tower with a wooden palisade fence. His grandson converted the tower to stone in 1129 and extended the tower further.
In 1353 William de Greystoke, 2nd Baron Greystoke, was granted a royal licence to crenellate the tower by King Edward III. The castle was extended again. It is thought that the castle was a quadrangular building with four corner towers.
The Greystokes married into the Dacre family in the early 1500s. However in 1571 Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk married Elizabeth Dacre and the castle and its estates passed in to the hands of the Dukes of Norfolk.
During the English Civil War the Howard family were strong Royalists and supporters of the king. Greystoke Castle was besieged and captured by the Parliamentarians under General Lambert in 1648. By the time they were done the castle was largely destroyed.
After the destruction the site lay empty for a while. A small manor house was constructed here from the stone from the old castle.
In the 18th Century the manor house was enlarged and altered. Then in the 1840s the renowned Victorian architect Anthony Salvin was employed to redesign the property.
Salvin rebuilt and redesigned the castle and estate, turning it from a sporting estate to a modern farm. His design incorporated the old pele tower and the remains of the medieval castle.
In 1868 Greystoke Castle was again badly damaged in an accidental fire. Again Salvin was brought in to oversee the reconstruction using labour and materials from the estate.
During the Second World War the army commandeered the estate to use as a tank drivers' training ground. The castle was converted for use as a prisoner of war camp; mostly for Polish prisoners who had been fighting for the Nazis.
By the time the estate was handed back to the Howards in 1950 there had been extensive damage to the estate and Greystoke Castle.
Stafford Howard, the then owner, undertook an extensive renovation and modernisation programme.
Today, Greystoke Castle, sits at the heart of a working farm estate. The estate's farm produces 'green' meat and has been recognised as one of the best stock farms in the country. In addition the estates woodlands are used for sustainable hardwood forestry.
Greystoke Castle is not a tourist attraction and is not ordinarily open to the public. However the castle's Great Hall and Drawing Rooms can be hired as an event venue for weddings, corporate functions and product launches.
The castle grounds are also open for various charitable events throughout the year. In addition the estate offers advanced off-road driving courses and is registered as a LANTRA training provider.
Status: Event Venue / Wedding Venue
Owner: Howards of Greystoke
Tel: +44 (0)17684 83722
Opening Times: Not normally open to the public. Events and weddings only.
Aerial view of Greystoke Castle
Engraving of Greystoke circa 1780