DiCamillo Companion

Naworth Castle

  • House & Family History: Naworth Castle was once a great stronghold of the lord wardens of the Marches. Ranulph de Dacre received a license to crenellate Naworth in 1335. Thomas, Lord Dacre (1467-1525), was a notable soldier who fought on the side of Henry Tudor (later Henry VII) against Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field and with the earl of Surrey against the French and the Scots at Flodden. In 1488 Lord Dacre eloped with Elizabeth Greystoke (1471-1516), heiress to the baronies of Greystoke and Fitzwilliam. His wife brought to the marriage Morpeth Castle and the manor of Henderskelfe, famously rebuilt as Castle Howard in the early 18th century. In 1577 Lord William Howard, a son of the duke of Norfolk, married Elizabeth Dacre and the Dacre properties have been in the Howard family ever since. Naworth has an exceptional sequence of Pre-Raphaelite interiors and original medieval chambers.

    Collections: Representing the Dacres, one of the most powerful families in northern England, the famous Dacre Beasts (probably 1507-25) are likely the only survivors of free standing, large-scale wooden heraldic sculpture from the English Renaissance (see photos in "Images" section). It's likely that these unique beasts were used for Thomas, Lord Dacre's funeral in 1525. Comprising the figures of a bull, ram, dolphin, and black griffin (the red bull was the supporter of Lord Dacre's arms; the black griffin represents his forebears, the Dacres of Gilsland), these astonishing works were almost certainly made by unknown local craftsmen from a single, large oak grown on the Naworth Estate. They were originally situated in the Great Hall at Naworth, where they stood under a ceiling painted with portraits of the kings and queens of England. The beasts were rescued from a major fire at Naworth in 1844 and restored in 1849 under the direction of Anthony Salvin (the current decoration and coats of arms are a result of Salvin's work). The beasts were acquired by the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2000. According to the V&A, "Although there is both written and pictorial evidence for contemporary royal beasts, the Dacre Beasts are apparently the only recorded surviving heraldic beasts representing a noble family."

  • Garden & Outbuildings: The House today sits in an Estate of 2,000 acres and features a very fine 17th century walled garden.

  • Architect: Charles Heathchote Tatham

    Date: Unknown
    Designed: Work for 5th Earl of Carlisle

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    Architect: Anthony Salvin

    Date: Circa 1845
    Designed: Restored the north and east ranges after 1844 fire

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  • Country Life: XXIX, 414, 1911.

  • Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - HARDBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 2008
    Reference: pg. 1018
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 9780300125085
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Not Listed

  • "The Black Candle" (1991 - TV movie). "Jane Eyre" (1997 - TV production, as the exterior of Thornfield Hall).
  • Current Seat / Home of: Philip and Elizabeth Howard; Howard family here since 1577.

    Past Seat / Home of: Ranulph de Dacre, 16th century; Thomas, Lord Dacre, 16th century; Dacre family here from 1317 until 1577. Lord William Howard, 17th century; Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Carlisle, until 1685; Edward Howard, 2nd Earl of Carlisle, 1685-92; Charles Howard, 3rd Earl of Carlisle, 1692-1738; Henry Howard, 4th Earl of Carlisle, 1738-58; Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle, 1758-1825.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

    Ownership Details: Naworth is a seat of the Howard family and is let as a venue for corporate retreats and conferences.

  • House Open to Public: By Appointment

    Phone: 0169-773-229

    Fax: 0169-772-761

    Email: [email protected]

    Website: http://www.naworth.co.uk

    Historic Houses Member: No