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The Estate

History & Heritage

A History 375 Years In The Making

In 1641 Humphrey Weld, grandson of a rich London Merchant and direct ancestor of the current owner, purchased the Lulworth Estates from Thomas Howard who had built the Castle here between 1608 and 1610 to complement his manor house at Bindon Abbey in the nearby village of Wool.

Humphrey did not have the Castle for long before the Civil War erupted in England, during which the manor house at Wool was destroyed and the Estate sequestrated by the Parliamentarians. After the Civil War Humphrey Weld needed to refurbish the Castle’s interior as it was now the main family home and needed alterations to make it permanently liveable.

Over the years, the Castle has had various uses, occupants and a diverse and colourful history. There have been a number of significant events at the Castle, some like the fire of 1929 were devastating, others less so but equally as important in the Castle’s history.

From a perilous state of decay following the fire the Castle was saved from eventual ruin. The exterior is now fully restored and the interior consolidated. Exposed to the elements for 70 years after the fire, the Castle decayed  rapidly, stonework eroded and unburnt timbers rotted until the whole structure was in danger of collapse.

Discussions between the Weld Estate and English Heritage led to the start of a programme of consolidation. The first priority was safety; dangerous and crumbling masonry was supported, scaffolding erected and the site was cleared of vegetation and loose debris.

Stripped of plaster and panelling by the fire, the naked walls revealed their history. Previously hidden details like blocked doorways and scars of demolished walls, together with historic records, were used to interpret the building’s development over the centuries. The project was completed in 1998 when the Castle opened its doors for the first time since the fire to allow the public to explore this unique building and discover its past for themselves.

Visitors can now climb the tower to see spectacular views over the Dorset Countryside, use the information panels to interpret the history of the building, explore the basement rooms and memorabilia collections, watch the video of the fire, hunt for the ten bats hidden in the Castle. During the summer months there are a variety of lawn games to play including Giant Jenga, Pitch and Putt and Swingball tennis.

 

 

Visit Lulworth Castle

Built in the early 17th Century as a hunting lodge, Lulworth Castle became the family seat at the heart of this large estate, hosting royalty and aristocracy before it was ravaged by fire. Now open to the public, it's a great day out for all the family.

St. Mary's Chapel

Reputed to be one of the finest pieces of Georgian architecture in the county, The Chapel of St Mary in the grounds of the castle, was the first free standing Roman Catholic chapel to be built for public worship since the Reformation.

St. Andrew's Church

Originally built in C15th, with some ancient features remaining, St. Andrew's was redesigned by Thomas Hardy in the 1860s.