The overwhelming majority of castles nowadays are little greater than ruins preserved by charitable organizations for instructional worth. Up to now, these castles belonged to both the Aristocracy or royalty, however over time, whether or not via warfare, debt, or donation, they’ve handed out of their possession. This sample of loss accelerated from 1700 onward, as agricultural estates turned much less worthwhile over the course of the Industrial Revolution, resulting in the long-term lack of wealth by the landowning class.
Regardless of this, some noble households nonetheless personal castles immediately—and some, just like the Percy household of Alnwick Citadel, have owned their fort for a whole lot of years. Most of those households have changed their agricultural incomes with cash made by opening their properties as much as public entry. Which means many of those castles are nonetheless visitable as we speak, permitting us the privilege of seeing a fort in full occupation with our personal eyes. At the moment, we’re exploring ten castles which are nonetheless owned by the the Aristocracy.
10 Alnwick Fort
In its early historical past, Alnwick Citadel was a border fort designed to guard Northern England from Scottish raiders. It was little greater than a army outpost and had little significance. King John ordered it demolished in 1212, however fortuitously, his orders weren’t carried out. The Percy household bought it in 1309 and commenced a collection of formidable constructing tasks, setting it up because the seat of their lands and a cushty residence in addition to a formidable fortress. It has been their ancestral residence ever since, by way of quite a few generations of Percys—together with the notorious Harry Hotspur, who led a serious revolt towards the English monarchy.
It is among the most lovely and well-preserved castles in England immediately, and elements of it have been used for the inside of Hogwarts within the Harry Potter movies. It’s the second-largest occupied fort in England, after the Queen’s personal residence of Windsor Fort. The Percy household has additionally been very meticulous in holding its previous data protected, and the household archive, which dates again to the 1300s, is a vital historic supply which is used regularly by historians even at present.
In trendy occasions, the Duke and his household nonetheless reside within the citadel however solely use a piece of it. Different elements are used as lodging by the Estates Workplace and college students of St. Cloud State College as a part of their worldwide research program. The remainder of the fort is open to the general public.
9 Dunnottar Fort
Dunnottar is likely one of the most necessary castles in Scottish historical past. Its implausible strategic place on a rocky headland makes it virtually impervious to enemy assault. Due to this, it was chosen because the place to cover the crown jewels of Scotland, the Honours of Scotland, from Oliver Cromwell’s rampaging military in the course of the temporary time of the English Commonwealth. It was held by Clan Keith for a whole lot of years, they usually turned the hereditary Earls Marischal, making it their job to guard the king with their lives. Their fortunes ended, nevertheless, in 1715, after George Keith joined the Jacobite revolt. His lands have been declared forfeit, and the fort was seized by the crown. It was then bought to the York Buildings Firm, which dismantled a lot of the constructing.
The Keith household regained Dunnottar however bought it once more in 1925 to the Viscount of Cowdray, whose household personal it to this present day. By the point the Cowdrays purchased it, the citadel was in a state of spoil, they usually launched into a mission of restoration. It has remained open to the general public since and attracts tens of hundreds of tourists a yr. The Cowdrays personal a number of estates, in order that they don’t truly reside on the website.
eight Eilean Donan Fort
Mendacity on an remoted eponymous island in a strategic place on Scotland’s western coast, Eilean Donan Fort is likely one of the most acknowledged photographs of Scotland as we speak. It is likely one of the most photographed buildings in Scotland and is the third-most-visited Scottish citadel, receiving over 300,000 guests a yr. Due to its location, it was additionally the location of dozens of clan feuds over the centuries however was regularly owned by Clan Mackenzie and their allies Clan Macrae, who ran the fort of their identify. Clan Macrae defended Eilean Donan Citadel quite a few occasions within the Mackenzies’ names, however the centuries-old alliance broke down when the Mackenzies joined the Jacobite insurrection.
In the course of the revolt, the Spanish, who have been supporting the rebels, have been allowed to occupy the island. The British navy retaliated with an intense naval bombardment, destroying a lot of the citadel. After they took the Spanish survivors prisoner, they continued to explode a lot of the remaining ruins with 27 barrels of gunpowder.
The citadel lay in ruins for precisely 200 years earlier than a descendant of Clan Macrae, John Macrae-Gilstrap, purchased it in 1919. He set about restoring it and opened it to the general public in 1955. It has remained underneath the safety of the Macrae household ever since, although the household doesn’t reside on the website. They established the Conchra Charitable Belief in 1983 to handle and keep the fort.
7 Arundel Citadel
Arundel Fort is among the oldest castles in England, first inbuilt December 1067—barely a yr after the Norman conquest. Additionally it is exceptional for being handed down by way of generations virtually instantly for almost 1,000 years. It was owned for lengthy durations by the Aubigny household from 1139 to 1243, sometimes reverting again to the crown. In 1243, it handed to the FitzAlans after the ultimate Aubigny inheritor, a lady, married into the household. The FitzAlans held it till 1580, when Mary FitzAlan married Thomas Howard. The Howards have held the fort ever since, however it didn’t turn into their foremost residence till the 1780s.
Arundel has been regularly upgraded because it was first inbuilt 1067, a lot of the citadel we see as we speak is rather more trendy than that. Nearly all of the constructing—together with the Gothic entrance which provides it its fairytale look—was constructed in the course of the Victorian period. It was one of many first buildings in England to be fitted with electrical energy, central heating, and repair lifts. Very similar to Alnwick citadel, Arundel has an in depth archive that includes paperwork going again to the 1200s, although it is just open to skilled teachers.
6 Bamburgh Citadel
Bamburgh Fort is likely one of the most well-known and picturesque castles within the UK. It was first the location of a formidable Anglo-Saxon fortress, which the historian Bede described as one of the crucial essential locations in Britain. It was a supply of power for the Northumbrian kings for a few years earlier than the Norman conquest. Following an tried rebel, the fort was taken by the crown in 1093. The crown then held it for 500 years earlier than promoting it to the Forster household, who had been governors of the fort for generations, in 1600.
It wasn’t lengthy, nevertheless, earlier than the Forsters went bankrupt, and the citadel was bought to the Bishop of Durham, who had it transformed right into a hospital. It was lastly bought to William Armstrong, First Baron Armstrong, in 1894, whose household nonetheless owns it to today. It is likely one of the only a few castles within the UK owned by a household whose first proprietor wasn’t a noble once they have been born. (Armstrong was knighted for his many scientific achievements.) The Armstrongs opened the fort as much as the general public within the early 1900s.
Immediately, the citadel stays an icon of Northeast England, showing in dozens of movies and books. It has additionally been a middle of archaeological significance ever since a number of key Anglo-Saxon discoveries on the location within the 1960s.
5 Dunrobin Fort
Dunrobin Citadel is among the most fascinating castles within the British Isles: It’s the most northerly of Britain’s inhabited castles and one of many largest, with 189 rooms. Regardless of this, it has a distinctly continental look, having been reworked within the French chateau type in the course of the Victorian period. It wouldn’t be misplaced within the rolling hills of Southern France.
Regardless of its refined trendy look, it has a barbaric historical past. It was constructed to regulate a savage, barbaric area of Northern Scotland which incessantly modified palms between the Vikings and Scots. The Gordon household, who management it to this present day, first held the fort in 1512, when Adam Gordon married the daughter of the lord. The Gordons then efficiently introduced a writ of idiocy towards the lord’s son, and when the lord died, the property fell into their possession. The fort was taken from them by Alexander Sutherland, the reliable inheritor, in 1518, however when the Gordons returned, they killed the usurper and positioned his head on a spike on prime of the fort tower. Alexander’s son tried to take the citadel in 1550 however was killed within the fort backyard. The Gordons modified their surname to Sutherland shortly after to reinforce their legitimacy.
Within the years that adopted, the Sutherlands added to the citadel, making it extra snug and defensible. It turned their household seat, a place it held till 1963, when the citadel and the dukedom cut up: The previous lord’s male inheritor inherited the Duchy of Sutherland, however his daughter, the current Countess Elizabeth, inherited the fort.
four Berkeley Citadel
Berkeley Citadel in Gloucestershire is the house of certainly one of solely two noble households in England who can hint their lineage again to Anglo-Saxon lords from earlier than the Norman invasion. The Berkeley household, initially the Fitzhardings, have been granted the fort within the 1100s and have held it ever since. It’s the oldest fort in England to be constantly owned and utilized by the identical household and incorporates a mattress which has been recognized because the oldest piece of furnishings utilized by a single household.
In contrast to most of the castles on this listing, Berkeley Fort’s structure has remained largely unaltered because the 1400s. It was the location of a number of historic occasions: It’s believed to be the location the place King Edward II was murdered, and it was the place the place the final courtroom jester in England, Dickie Pearce, died when he fell from the minstrels’ gallery. Within the English Civil Conflict, the fort was besieged by parliamentary forces who breached the partitions with a cannon. The Berkeleys have been allowed to stay within the citadel so long as they didn’t restore the breach, a rule enshrined in regulation by Parliament: The breach continues to be there at the moment.
three Haddon Corridor
From the very begin, Haddon Corridor was meant to be a household house relatively than a fort. Successive chaos over the course of the 1100s, nevertheless, led to the household constructing a defensive wall round it in 1194. It now straddles the road between fort and manor home, that includes features of each in equal measure.
The fort was initially owned by the rich, venerable Vernon household. Within the 1560s, nevertheless, Sir George Vernon’s daughter, Dorothy, fell in love with a decrease noble, John Manners. George despised the association, contemplating John and his household of lowly standing and shaky monetary stability. He forbade them from seeing one another. Dorothy and John made a plan, and through a bustling ball, Dorothy snuck out of the corridor and met John on horseback on the bridge, the place they rode off to be married. George Vernon died two years later, and the Manners household inherited the property, which they personal to this present day.
The Vernons had spent a lot of their wealth increasing the unique corridor, however the Mannerses, who selected one other place as their important residence, allowed it to fall into disuse. Within the 1920s, John’s descendant, additionally named John Manners, acknowledged the corridor’s significance and commenced restoring it to its unique glory. It’s now thought-about one of many best-preserved examples of a medieval manor home. It’s now the house of Lord Edward Manners, however the corridor is open to the general public for a lot of the yr.
2 Inveraray Citadel
By far the most recent of the castles on this listing, Inverary’s basis stone was positioned in 1746, although a fort has existed on the location because the 1500s. It sits on the shore of Scotland’s longest sea loch, Loch Fyne, and it was one of many first buildings within the Gothic Revival motion, which turned probably the most influential and well-liked architectural types in historical past. The citadel is legendary for its darkish, foreboding look. This look has been purposely cultivated: Within the 1770s, the precise village of Inveraray was moved to reinforce the fort’s remoted look.
It’s the seat of the Dukes of Argyll, the chiefs of Clan Campbell, one of many largest (and most traditionally controversial) Scottish clans. In distinction to many different noble households, who sometimes solely reside in a really small part of their castles, the Campbells occupy two entire flooring of the citadel and two of its 4 nook towers. However, a big portion of the citadel is open to the general public immediately, together with the armory corridor, which incorporates a set of lots of of weapons in a room with a ceiling that, at 21 meters (69 ft), is the very best ceiling in Scotland.
1 Belvoir Fort
Belvoir was one other one of many first wave of English castles inbuilt 1067. Initially established as a manor home, it was granted to Robert de Ros in 1257, who obtained permission to show it right into a citadel a decade later. Nevertheless, the fort had fallen into destroy by the point the Manners household inherited it in 1508. The Mannerses, who nonetheless reside there at the moment, had a brand new fort constructed on the location.
This was solely the primary of many occasions the fort was destroyed and rebuilt: It was torn down by the Parliamentarians in 1649 and rebuilt in 1668, rebuilt once more in 1799, and destroyed by a fireplace in 1816 earlier than being reconstructed for the ultimate time in 1832. The citadel as we speak retains a standard medieval look regardless of being comparatively new and is likely one of the most well-known examples of Regency structure on the planet. It options often in films, together with as a stand-in for Windsor Fort and as Castel Gandolfo in The Da Vinci Code.