Devizes Castle

Devizes Castle
Wiltshire, England

Entrance to Victorian castle
Devizes Castle
Coordinates grid reference SU002613
Type Motte-and-bailey
Site information
Owner Private
Open to
the public
Condition Fragments of medieval castle remain
Site history
Battles/wars The Anarchy, English Civil War

Devizes Castle was a medieval fortification in the town of Devizes, Wiltshire, England, on a site now occupied by a Victorian-era castle. It is a Grade I listed building.[1]

Medieval Building

The first motte and bailey castle on this site was built in 1080 by Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury. This castle burnt down in 1113 and was rebuilt in stone by Roger, Bishop of Salisbury, by 1120. He occupied it under Henry I and later under Stephen. Roger sided with Stephen and the castle was taken and retaken. It then remained the property of the Crown and it was used as a prison by Henry II and Henry III. It went on to become the property of Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII.

Important prisoners were held at the castle, including (from 1106) Robert Curthose, eldest son of William the Conqueror, and (in 1232) Hubert de Burgh.

Civil War

In 1643, during the Civil War, the castle was occupied by Royalist troops and besieged by Parliamentary forces under Sir William Waller. However, three days later in the Battle of Roundway Down, Waller's army was routed by Royalist forces. The castle and town remained in Royalist hands under the military governorship of Sir Charles Lloyd who defended the town against repeated attacks and bombardments by the Parliamentarians. In September 1645, Cromwell with large forces and heavy artillery invaded the town and laid siege to the castle, which capitulated after a bombardment. In May 1648 the castle was dismantled following a Parliamentary Order, a process known as slighting. All that remains of the medieval castle today is the original mound, the outline of the moat and traces of the foundations of the great hall.

Victorian rebuilding

1883 plan of the castle, from the estate sale

The present castellated Victorian era 'castle', which is Neo Norman/Gothic architecture in style, was built by the Leach family in the 19th century. It was begun in 1842 to a boldly asymmetrical design by Henry Goodridge, an architect from Bath. It was extended northwards in the 1860s and succeeding decades. The north tower incorporates the remains of a 17th-century brick windmill.[2]

The building is now divided into flats in private ownership and is not open to the public. The main part of the castle, including seven bedrooms, four bathrooms and six reception rooms, was sold in 2010 for £2 million.

See also


  1. Historic England. "Devizes Castle (1249366)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  2. "Detailed Result: Devizes Castle". Pastscape. English Heritage. Retrieved 21 March 2013.

External links

Coordinates: 51°21′03″N 1°59′55″W / 51.3508°N 1.9985°W / 51.3508; -1.9985

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