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Historic England Research Records

Grimsthorpe Castle

Hob Uid: 348511
Location :
Lincolnshire
South Kesteven
Edenham
Grid Ref : TF0445022770
Summary : Country house of 13th century origins, enlarged during the 16th century and 1685. It was remodelled in 1722-26 by Vanbrugh, 1811 and 1840.
More information : [TF 04452277] GRIMSTHORPE CASTLE [GT] (1)

The south-east tower, built in the C13th, is traditionally
known as King John's Tower. The east, west and south fronts were originally Tudor. The north front is by Vanbrugh in 1722. The west front was partly rebuilt by him, and wholly rebuilt in Tudor style in 1840. Serious damage by fire to the south wing was reported in 1960. (2-5)

The castle is the seat of the 3rd Earl of Ancaster and is sometimes open to the public. Outstanding.

See Visitors History and Guide Pamphlet on Grimstone Castle. (6)

Grade I.
No change since 16-6-65. (7-8)

Additional reference. (9)

The garden at Grimsthorpe, Lincolnshire, had a walled garden with several corner angles, each comprising an arrowhead bastion. The layout is by Stephen Switzer. (10)

It is likely that the first castle at Grimsthorpe was built by Gilbert de Gant, the great grandson of Baudouin, Count of Flanders. He succeeded in 1192 as 5th Lord of Folkingham. Created Earl of Lincoln in 1216 by Prince Louis of France (later Louis VIII), he was dispatched to the north to oppose King John during the baron¿s revolt. He devastated the city of Lincoln, but was later taken prisoner and deprived of his estates. He died in 1242. Much of his large estate eventually passed to Henry, 1st Lord Beaumont, who served both Edward I and Edward II in a military capacity.

The association with Grimsthorpe and the Barons Willoughby de Eresby, which has lasted down the centuries, began when Henry, 5th Lord Beaumont married Elizabeth Willoughby, daughter of William, 5th Baron de Eresby. Their grandson, William was the last of the Beaumont family line. His second wife, Elizabeth Scrope, previously married to the Earl of Oxford, occupied Grimsthorpe until her death in the summer of 1537.

However, in 1516 Henry VIII granted the reversion of the manor to William Willoughby who became 10th Baron Willoughby de Eresby on his marriage to Maria de Salinas, Maid of Honour to Queen Katherine of Aragon. In March 1520 Maria gave birth to a daughter, Katherine. Dating back to 1313, the Barony of Willoughby de Eresby is an English peerage which can pass in the female line. Katherine was only about six when her father died and she succeeded as 11th Baroness and heiress to Grimsthorpe. She became a ward of the king until 1528 when Henry VIII sold the wardship to his brother-in-law, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.

Suffolk¿s devious plan was for his young son, Henry Brandon, Earl of Lincoln, to improve his prospects by marriage to Katherine, the heiress to Grimsthorpe. But the scheme collapsed in 1533 when his wife, Mary Tudor, died and their son Henry became terminally ill. Ever the opportunist, Suffolk, then aged about 50, took the fourteen-year-old Katherine for his fourth wife.

Within two years riots occurred in Lincolnshire inspired by the King¿s policy to dissolve the monasteries. This led to `The Pilgrimage of Grace when many northern lords gave their support to the abbots and monks who were being ejected from their religious houses. Henry VIII ordered Suffolk to Lincolnshire to help crush the revolt.

With the dissolution of the Abbey of Vaudey, which stood in the grounds of Grimsthorpe, Suffolk had an excellent supply of stone available to improve and enlarge his wife's inheritance and make it ready for a visit by the King, who planned to stay there while on his way to meet his nephew, James V of Scotland, in York. (11)

Grimsthorpe Castle was the last work of Vanbrugh. By the time Britannia Illustrata was published in 1707, the 15th Baron Willoughby de Eresby and 3rd Earl Lindsay had rebuilt the north front of Grimsthorpe in the classical style.

Presumably these improvements were not to the taste of the 17th Baron, who also held the title Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven, who employed Vanbrugh to replace the north front with a Baroque facade. Other ambitious plans to transform the rest of the building were modified after the Duke's death.

Had all Vanbrugh's planned modifications been completed, it would not be possible to walk round Grimsthorpe today and see its past so clearly portrayed in its walls.

What remains has been molded and reshaped into a variety of styles that reflect changes in fashion and the fortunes of its owners. Now its future is in the hands of the Grimsthorpe and Drummond Castle Trust, a charitable body set up by the 3rd Earl of Ancestor and his daughter Jane Heathcote Drummond Willoughby, 27th Baroness Willoughby de Eresby. (12)


Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1958
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Cox J C. 1924. Little Guide of Lincolnshire (2nd Edition) 121-2
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Source Number : 11
Source : Register of parks and gardens of special historic interest in England
Source details : Lincolnshire
Page(s) :
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Plates :
Vol(s) : Part 27
Source Number : 12
Source : Online source
Source details : Heritage Sites in Europe, Grimsthorpe Castle, Park and Gardnes (undated). www.heritagesites.eu.com/england/grimsth.htm
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Source Number : 13
Source : Online source
Source details : Willoughby, Grimsthorpe Castle, (undated). http://www.a1b2c3.com/willough/castle1.htm [17-Jun-2003]
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Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Tipping H A. 1928. English Homes Period 4 1649-1736, 295-322
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Source Number : 4
Source : Bulletin of the British Archaeological Association
Source details :
Page(s) : 1
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Vol(s) : (June 1960)
Source Number : 5
Source : Lincolnshire
Source details :
Page(s) : 554-8
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Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 BHS 16-JUN-65
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Source Number : 7
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : South Kesteven, February 1961
Page(s) : 10-Nov
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Source Number : 8
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F2 RSC 30-AUG-77
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Source Number : 9
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Anthony J. 1992. Discovering Period Gardens, 75
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Source Number : 10
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Symes M. 1993. A Glossary of Garden History, 16, 140
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : C13 origins
Monument End Date : 1299
Monument Start Date : 1200
Monument Type : Castle, Tower
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : enlarged C16
Monument End Date : 1599
Monument Start Date : 1500
Monument Type : Country House
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : C16 enlargement
Monument End Date : 1599
Monument Start Date : 1500
Monument Type : Country House
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Constructed 1685
Monument End Date : 1685
Monument Start Date : 1685
Monument Type : Country House
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : remodelled 1722-26
Monument End Date : 1726
Monument Start Date : 1722
Monument Type : Country House
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Remodelled 1811
Monument End Date : 1811
Monument Start Date : 1811
Monument Type : Country House
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : remodelled 1840
Monument End Date : 1840
Monument Start Date : 1840
Monument Type : Country House
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 194089
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TF 02 SW 7
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1129134
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TF 02 SW 7
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1965-06-16
End Date : 1965-06-16
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TF 02 SW 7
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1977-08-30
End Date : 1977-08-30
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT GRIMSTHORPE CASTLE
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 2001-01-01
End Date : 2001-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT GRIMSTHORPE CASTLE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2010-01-01
End Date : 2010-12-31