The history of Hartlebury Castle.

The building that now stands here is believed to date back to the 13th century

HISTORY 2018-01-09T15:50:37+00:00

The history of Hartlebury Castle.

The land that Hartlebury sits on was granted to the Bishop of Worcester by King Burghred in the late 9th century, although the foundations of the building that now stands here is believed to date back to the 13th century. Since that time it has been a centre of ecclesiastical and administrative power in Worcestershire with its resident bishops involved in some of the major events of British history.

Hartlebury Castle tells the story of the bishops of a major see and their evolving role in English society, from political and military guardians of a frontier with Wales to active participants in political decision making in modern times. They number a pope (Clement VII) who played a key role in precipitating the establishment of the Church of England; Bishops Latimer and Hooper, Protestant martyrs of the Reformation; and Bishop Hurd, friend to King George III and creator of the Hurd Library.

Historical Highlights include:

1066
1066

Saint Wulfstan, bishop of Worcester from 1062-1095, presided over the coronations of King Harold and William the Conqueror

1420
1420

The Saloon was refurnished and a gothic cupola was added to the roof of the Great Hall. The Saloon features decorative papier mache to the walls and is one of the best surviving examples of such work.

The Saloon was refurnished and a gothic cupola was added to the roof of the Great Hall. The Saloon features decorative papier mache to the walls and is one of the best surviving examples of such work.

1437
1437

Early 15th Century – Great Hall built, which remains one of the largest non-royal Great Halls in the country

1521
1521

Pope Clement II, bishop of Worcester from 1521-1522, refused to allow King Henry VIII an annulment from his marriage with Katherine of Aragon, sparking the English Reformation

Pope Clement II, bishop of Worcester from 1521-1522, refused to allow King Henry VIII an annulment from his marriage with Katherine of Aragon, sparking the English Reformation

1539
1539

Hugh Latimer, bishop of Worcester from 1535-1539, was burnt at the stake becoming one of the Oxford Martyrs of the Church of England

Hugh Latimer, bishop of Worcester from 1535-1539, was burnt at the stake becoming one of the Oxford Martyrs of the Church of England

1575
1575

Queen Elizabeth I visited Bishop Bullingham at Hartlebury Castle and the Queen Elizabeth walk was created Civil war – the castle was partly destroyed and abandoned for some 40 years after the See was abolished during the Commonwealth and Protectorate

Queen Elizabeth I visited Bishop Bullingham at Hartlebury Castle and the Queen Elizabeth walk was created Civil war – the castle was partly destroyed and abandoned for some 40 years after the See was abolished during the Commonwealth and Protectorate

1690
1690

Late 17th century – Bishop Morley created the symmetrical facade by adding the North Wing and remodelling the South Wing. Two handsome timber staircases were created in each wing and the Long Gallery was added to the rear of the building, blocking the original windows of the Great Hall.

Late 17th century – Bishop Morley created the symmetrical facade by adding the North Wing and remodelling the South Wing. Two handsome timber staircases were created in each wing and the Long Gallery was added to the rear of the building, blocking the original windows of the Great Hall.

1720
1720

The Bishop’s Study was panelled and an impressive moulded fireplace and overmantle was added to the Great Hall.

The Bishop’s Study was panelled and an impressive moulded fireplace and overmantle was added to the Great Hall.

1742
1742

Bishop Hurd’s Library was built with delicate plaster work ceiling with central dome, Ionic marbled columns and grained bookshelves. The collection includes books from the library of Alexander Pope and King George III

Bishop Hurd’s Library was built with delicate plaster work ceiling with central dome, Ionic marbled columns and grained bookshelves. The collection includes books from the library of Alexander Pope and King George III

1745
1745

Extensive repairs and alterations were completed and the Chapel was remodelled in early Gothic Revival style by Henry Keene, Surveyor of Westminster Abbey. The alterations are recognised as one of the most significant early works of the Gothic Revival and are contemporary with Strawberry Hill. 1745 – 1774

Extensive repairs and alterations were completed and the Chapel was remodelled in early Gothic Revival style by Henry Keene, Surveyor of Westminster Abbey. The alterations are recognised as one of the most significant early works of the Gothic Revival and are contemporary with Strawberry Hill. 1745 – 1774

1750
1750

Bishop Maddox added bastions and crenellated walls to replace those destroyed in the unrest of the Civil War.

1815
1815

King George and Queen Charlotte visited Hartlebury and breakfasted with Bishop Hurd Early 19th century – a bedroom was created specifically for the Prince Regent, including a mahogany bed and window pelmets, decorated with the feathers of the Prince’s crest, and fragments of wallpaper.

King George and Queen Charlotte visited Hartlebury and breakfasted with Bishop Hurd Early 19th century – a bedroom was created specifically for the Prince Regent, including a mahogany bed and window pelmets, decorated with the feathers of the Prince’s crest, and fragments of wallpaper.

1844
1844

10 year old Emily Pepys starts her diary which covers six months of her life at Hartlebury castle and is published on rediscovery in 1984.

10 year old Emily Pepys starts her diary which covers six months of her life at Hartlebury castle and is published on rediscovery in 1984.

1966
1966

Worcestershire County Council open the County Museum in the North Wing of the Castle

1980
1980

Queen Elizabeth II visited Hartlebury Castle and planted the Magnolia Tree in the Carriage Circle

Queen Elizabeth II visited Hartlebury Castle and planted the Magnolia Tree in the Carriage Circle

2017
2017

The retirement of Bishop Selby prompts the Church Commission to sell Hartlebury Castle and the accompanying land

2017

Hartlebury Castle Preservation Trust Successfully purchase the Castle and surrounding land

Hartlebury Castle Preservation Trust

Hartlebury Castle Preservation Trust was formed with the purpose of preserving, for the benefit of the people of Worcestershire and of the UK, Hartlebury Castle, its gardens, grounds, parkland and historic contents including The Hurd Library. In March 2015 the Trust purchased Hartlebury Castle with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Trust has worked tirelessly to fundraise and garner support to save Hartlebury Castle for future generations. Their work has only just started though as they now work to restore Hartlebury and transform the Castle into a unique and sustainable visitor attraction.

The Trust is a registered charity which relies on the hard work and support of volunteers. It is governed by a board of Trustees currently chaired by Jacqui Watson and has a growing team of volunteers.

Museums Worcestershire

Museums Worcestershire is the joint museum service of Worcestershire County Council and Worcester City Council. As well as managing the County Museum, which has been based at Hartlebury Castle since 1966, they have provided support, advice and funding for the Hartlebury Castle project. The County Museum will remain open throughout the development work and will form an integral part of the new Hartlebury site.

Donate

Now your help is needed to turn the Castle into something really special. This is your opportunity to get involved in the journey to transform Hartlebury Castle. Every donation has an impact on what the Trust is able to achieve.

There are a number of ways that you can donate to the project:

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Volunteer

We want Hartlebury Castle to grow into a major visitor attraction for Worcestershire. Our ambitious plans need your help and support. We need people with determination and commitment who will work together to help us deliver our vision.

Volunteers are central to the future success of Hartlebury Castle.

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