The Castle from a circa 1900 photograph published by Francis Firth & Co.
The Castle from the air
The Fitzalan Chapel
House & Family History: Arundel Castle, situated in magnificent grounds overlooking the River Arun in West Sussex, was built at the end of the 11th century by Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Arundel. At Christmas 1067 William the Conqueror created Roger Earl of Arundel and gave him a third of the county of Sussex as a reward for his stewardship of Normandy while William was taking care of conquering England. Roger very likely built the original motte and bailey castle on the site, probably of earth and timber, making Arundel older than Windsor Castle (only the Gatehouse remains from Roger's time). Queen Adeliza of Louvain, the widow of Henry I, was granted the Castle and lands as her dowry in 1138. Henry II added, circa 1170-circa 1190, a shell keep on top of the motte and other towers. Arundel has been the seat of the dukes of Norfolk and earls of Arundel for over 800 years. In 1643, during the Civil War, the original Castle was badly damaged and later restored by the 8th, 11th, and 15th Dukes in the 18th and 19th centuries. The duke of Norfolk is the premier duke of Great Britain (the oldest dukedom in England), the title having been conferred on Sir John Howard in 1483 by his friend, King Richard III. The dukedom was originally created in 1397 by Richard II and conferred on Thomas Mowbray; after the Mowbray line died out it was bestowed upon the Howard family. The dukedom carries with it (since 1672) the hereditary office of earl marshal of England. This means that the duke is in charge of state ceremonies, such as the coronation and funeral of the sovereign and such occasions as the sovereign declares shall be a state occasion, e.g., the investiture of a prince of Wales and the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill. As earl marshal, the duke is head of the College of Arms, founded in 1484, the official authority on heraldry and genealogy in England and Wales. In addition, through his subsidiary title of earl of Arundel, the duke of Norfolk is also the premier earl of England. Among the historically famous members of the Howard family are Lord Howard of Effingham, who, with Francis Drake, repelled the Spanish Armada; Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, one of the founders of English Renaissance poetry; and the 3rd Duke of Norfolk, uncle of Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, both of whom became wives of King Henry VIII. Queen Victoria came from Osborne House with her husband, Prince Albert, for a three-day visit in December 1846. In honor of the queen and prince's visit, the 13th Duke commissioned a complete set of gold and white Elizabethan style furniture, including a massive bed, from the fashionable London decorator George Morant. The queen's portrait by William Fowler was commissioned by the 13th Duke in 1843. During World War II Arundel was taken over (from 1940 until 1945) by the British Army and occupied by British, Canadian, and American troops. Arundel Castle is today the home of the 18th Duke and Duchess of Norfolk and their children. (We are most grateful to the Arundel Castle Estate and Eileen Wallace for contributing the vast majority of this history of Arundel Castle).
Collections: The library at Arundel is one of the most important country house libraries in Britain. It contains 10,000 books and is particularly rich in Catholic history. Arundel has among its treasures a collection of fine furniture dating from the 16th century, portraits by Van Dyck (eight), Gainsborough, Reynolds, Mytens, Lawrence, tapestries, and clocks. Personal possessions of Mary, Queen of Scots, and a selection of historical, religious and heraldic items are also on display. The archives at Arundel are also home to the Bryant Index of Country Houses, a project started in the mid-20th century by Gilbert Ernest Bryant (1878-1965) to document British country houses. Most of the famous collection of ancient marbles (the Arundel Marbles) formed by Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel (the "Collector Earl"), is today in the collection of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (it was given to the Ashmolean in 1677 by the Earl's grandson); a few pieces remain at Arundel Castle.
Garden & Outbuildings: On May 14, 2008 the Prince of Wales opened the new Collector Earl's Garden at Arundel Castle. The garden, designed by the husband-and-wife team of Isabel and Julian Bannerman, was conceived as a light-hearted tribute to Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel (1585-1646), known as "The Collector Earl." Lord Arundel is considered the first of the great English art collectors, particularly noted for his collection of antique marbles, once at Arundel House, London (currently the site of the Howard Hotel and Temple Underground Station). His collection is today primarily at the University of Oxford and the Library of the Royal Society (many of his portrait paintings, as well as other pieces from his collection, form the basis of the collection at Arundel Castle). Lord Arundel died in exile in Padua, Italy, during the English Civil War, and, though his body was brought back to England and buried in the Fitzalan Chapel at Arundel, the ornate tomb he specified in his will was never built. This garden, adjoining the Chapel, can now be interpreted as his memorial. The formal Jacobean garden is an artistic re-creation of what the Collector Earl's formal garden at Arundel House in London may have been like. The domed pergola and fountains are based on those seen in the garden vista of Arundel House in the background of the famous Mytens portrait of the Countess of Arundel (today in the Drawing Room at Arundel Castle), while the green oak gateways and pavilions are based on Inigo Jones's designs for Arundel House. The planting is restrained (no flowers) and the garden is divided into formal courts with a center canal pond and a tufa-lined cascade. The centerpiece is the rockwork mountain, planted with palms and rare ferns, which supports a green oak version of Oberon's Palace. The other-worldly Palace is based on the famous spectacle designed by Inigo Jones for Prince Henry's masque on New Year's Day 1611. Inside the shell-lined interior is a stalagmite fountain that features the Dancing Coronet, a gold ducal coronet that rises and falls, held in place by pressure from the fountain. The new garden occupies about a third of the area of the Georgian and Victorian Walled Kitchen Garden, which, for the last forty years, had been an unattractive parking lot (the remaining two-thirds of the Walled Kitchen Garden have been converted into an organic kitchen garden). Hiorn's Tower was built in 1790 in the Gothic style by Francis Hiorn.
Chapel & Church: The Fitzalan Chapel was founded in 1380 by Richard, 4th Earl of Arundel, as a collegiate chapel served by secular canons. In the late Middle Ages the Chapel was a noted center of music, with a fine choir, for which much early English polyphony was especially composed. In the reign of Henry VIII the College was dissolved as part of the Dissolution of the Monasteries, with the result that the Chapel and other buildings were returned to the family, where they have remained the private property of the earls of Arundel and the dukes of Norfolk ever since. In 1643 the Chapel was badly damaged in the Civil War, and in 1782 the original carved timber roof was destroyed. The Chapel was restored in stages throughout the 19th century, with the 14th Duke adding the Mausoleum on the south side to the designs of Matthew Ellison Hadfield, and the 15th Duke undertaking a major restoration in 1886 to the plans of Charles Buckler. In 1879, in an action heard before Lord Chief Justice Coleridge, it was determined that the Fitzalan Chapel did not form part of the parish church, but was an independent ecclesiastical structure. Thus, the Chapel remained Catholic, an unusual, if not unique, anomaly in England. The Chapel is still used as the burial place of the dukes of Norfolk, and a number of masses are said at the Chapel each year for dukes' souls, in accordance with the intention of the founder.
Architect: Matthew Ellison HadfieldDate: 19th century
Architect: Robert AbrahamDate: 1791-1815
Architect: Charles Alban BucklerDate: 1886-1903
J.B. Burke: Vol. I, p. 87, 1852.
J.P. Neal: 2.S. Vol. IV, 1828.
Country Life: XXXVI, 746, 782 plan, 814, 853 [Furniture], 1914. CLXXIII, 196 [Collection], 280 [Collection], 332 [Collection], 1983.
Title: Arundel Castle Guidebook - NEW
Author: Robinson, John Martin
Year Published: NA
Reference: pgs. 19, 28-29
Publisher: Sussex: Arundel Castle Trustees
Book Type: Light Softback
Title: Art Treasures of England: The Regional Collections
Author: Waterfield, Giles; et al.
Year Published: 1998
Reference: pg. 18
Publisher: London: Royal Academy of Arts
Book Type: Softback
Title: Buildings of England: Sussex, The
Author: Pevsner, Nikolaus; Nairn, Ian
Year Published: 1973
Reference: pgs. 91-93
Publisher: London: Penguin Books
Book Type: Hardback
Title: Disintegration of a Heritage: Country Houses and their Collections, 1979-1992, The
Author: Sayer, Michael
Year Published: 1993
Publisher: Norfolk: Michael Russell (Publishing)
Book Type: Hardback
House Listed: Grade I
Park Listed: Grade II
Seat of: Edward William Fitzalan-Howard, 18th Duke of Norfolk.
Past Seat of: Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Arundel, 11th century. Queen Adeliza, 12th century. Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, 16th century.
Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust
Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home
Ownership Details: Private home of the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk. House is owned by Arundel Castle Trustees Limited.