Eastnor Castle

Eastnor Castle circa 1880.

Coordinates: 52°01′44″N 2°23′14″W / 52.028884°N 2.387225°W / 52.028884; -2.387225 Eastnor Castle is a 19th-century mock or revival castle, two miles from the town of Ledbury in Herefordshire, England, by the village of Eastnor. It was founded by John Cocks, 1st Earl Somers as his stately home and continues to be inhabited by his descendants. Currently in residence is the family of James Hervey-Bathurst, the grandson of Arthur Somers-Cocks, 6th Baron Somers. The castle is a Grade I listed building.


The estate was established in the late 16th century when the Cocks family purchased land in the area. Subsequent marriages into the Somers and Nash families helped provide the wealth and substance necessary to build the present imposing building, designed to look like one of the medieval castles guarding the Welsh borders.

The castle was built to the designs of Robert Smirke in 1812-20. A.W.N. Pugin made some internal alterations - including the decoration of the Gothic Drawing Room - in 1849-50, and George E Fox made more changes in the 1860s. It is constructed of ashlar stonework, with a lead and slate roof concealed behind an embattled parapet. Cast-iron was used for the roof trusses and floor beams. [1] It was constructed at a cost of £85,000, the equivalent of approximately £26 to £28 million at 2007 prices.

The castle was criticised by Charles Locke Eastlake later in the 19th century:

It is a massive and gloomy-looking building, flanked by watch-towers, and enclosing a keep. To preserve the character at which it aimed, the windows were made exceedingly small and narrow. This must have resulted in much inconvenience within...The building in question might have made a tolerable fort before the invention of gunpowder, but as a residence it was a picturesque mistake.[2]

Recent uses

Front entrance of Eastnor Castle in 1992

The grounds are the location of the Land Rover vehicle test track and offers visitors the chance to try off-roading in the company's latest models.

Eastnor Castle has provided the backdrop to a number of films, including One More Time, starring Peter Lawford and Sammy Davis, Jr and directed by Jerry Lewis. BBC television filmed some scenes for 'The Prince and the Pauper' starring Nicholas Lyndhurst in 1976.

In 1984, both the band Slade and the BBC made use of the castle. Slade used it to film their video for "Run Runaway" and the BBC to film the exterior shots of Abner Brown's theological college in their adaptation of The Box of Delights.[3] The 1986 film adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Canterville Ghost was also shot here.[4] The BBC TV mini-series adaptation of Little Lord Fauntleroy in 1995 featured numerous scenes of the castle and grounds.

During the summer of 2010 the American reality competition television program, The Amazing Race, filmed a number of tasks of a medieval theme at the castle for the first episode of season seventeen of the program including the first ‘pit stop’ of the race.[5]

In 2015 the castle doubles as the exterior of Courcy Castle in Dr Thorne mini-series for ITV by Julian Fellowes. [6]



  1. Historic England. "Details from image database (152453)". Images of England.
  2. Eastlake, Charles Locke (1872). A History of the Gothic Revival. London: Longmans, Green & Co. p. 70.
  3. "The Box of Delights (1984) Filming Locations". IMDb. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
  4. "The Canterville Ghost (TV 1987)". IMDb. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
  5. The episode on CBS.com (retrieved 27 September 2010)
  6. http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2016-03-06/visit-the-real-greshamsbury-park-and-the-handsome-houses-in-doctor-thorne
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