Arundel Castle, West Sussex
There was a fortress here in Saxon times, and a castle for over 900 years, ever since a mound was raised in 1088. It sits on a chalk spur above the river Arun and just a few miles north of the English Channel. Throughout the middle ages it was seen as a key link in the nation's defence against invasion. However, the three sieges suffered by Arundel were all about civil strife.
Although Arundel was one of the first stone castles to be built in England, much of the castle we see today is more recent, and owes much to the work of the 11th Duke of Norfolk, who, in 1787, began extensive renovations and reconstructions.
The castle is set in a beautiful part of Sussex, beside the winding River Arun, and can be seen from miles away when approaching the picturesque town of Arundel.
Access to the castle is very easy as there is parking next to the castle itself, with plenty of castle gardens to walk round, as well as exploring the castle itself.
~ History ~
1071 - Arundel, together with a third of Sussex, is given by King William I to Roger de Montgomery, as reward for his careful stewardship of Normandy during William's absence when conquering England.
1094 - Roger dies, leaving Arundel and his estates in England to his younger son Hugh, whilst leaving his lands in Normandy to his eldest son Robert.
1098 - Hugh is killed by an arrow fighting the Norsemen on Anglesey. His elder brother Robert now inherits his fathers entire estates in both Normandy and England.
1102 - Robert rebels against King Henry I in support of the king's elder brother Robert Curthose. The castle is too strong to be taken by force and the garrison only surrender after a three month seige.
1135 - King Henry I dies and his widow Adeliza of Louvain take up residence in Arundel castle.
1138 - Adeliza marries William de Albini who is subsequently created Earl of Arundel. A year later Adeliza entertains her step-daughter the Empress Matilda, who claims the English throne as the only surviving legitimate child of King Henry I. King Stephen lays siege to the castle but fails to press home a full assault.
1176 - Death of William de Albini. The castle passes to the Crown and further building work is undertaken by King Henry II over the next twelve years, until it is returned to the de Albini family during King Richard I's reign.
1243 - Hugh, the last of the de Albini family dies. The castle passes to his nephew John Fitzalan.
1289 - Richard Fitzalan comes of age and inherits Arundel. He is recognised as the 1st Earl of Arundel by King Edward I. Richard strengthens the castle by building a barbican and several towers.
1290 - Richard fights for Edward I at the siege of Caerlaverock.
1326 - Richard's son Edmund is executed by Queen Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer, after they seize the crown. They then execute Isabella's husband and England's King, Edward II. They grant Arundel to another Edmund, Earl of Kent.
1330 - Edmund is beheaded by the teenage King Edward III. The castle is restored to the 3rd Earl of Arundel, Richard Fitzalan.
1397 - Richard, 4th Earl of Arundel, victor of the naval battel of Margate in 1387, is beheaded by King Richard II.
The castle is granted to John Holland, Duke of Exeter.
1400 - John Holland is executed by King Henry IV.
The castle is restored to the 5th Earl, Thomas Fitzalan.
1415 - Following active campaigns under King Henry V against the Welsh and French, Thomas dies of dysentery contracted at the siege of Harfleur. He is succeeded by his son John, 7th Earl of Arundel.
1435 - John dies aged just twenty-seven following the amputation of a leg at Beauvais. John's infant son dies at the age of ten so the Earldom passes to an uncle, William, the 9th Earl of Arundel.
1580 - Henry, 12th Earl of Arundel dies. His son Thomas, having been beheaded on Tower Hill, eight years earlier by Queen Elizabeth for plotting to marry Mary Queen of Scots, sees the castle pass to his grandson Philip Howard.
1584 - Following restoration of the castle's apartments, Philip entertains Queen Elizabeth I at Arundel. He later incurs her wrath for his Catholicism and is heavily fined and imprisoned in the Tower of London for a decade until his death.
1604 - The 14th Earl, Thomas, who had lost most of his estates under Queen Elizabeth, sees them restored under King James I.
1643 - The castle is occupied by Parliamentary troops but in December they surrender to a Royalist force under Lord Hopton. The Royalists in turn are then besieged by Sir William Waller. They barely have enough time to take provisions for the castle, and after a fortnight's bombardment, they surrender. Parliamentary troops occupy the castle for the next five years.
1648 - The castle is abandoned and slighted.