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HER Number: 1122
Record Type: Building
Name: Shirburn Castle, Shirburn Park


  • Listed Building (I) 1368852: SHIRBURN CASTLE
Grid Reference: SU 696 959

Monument Type(s):

  • CASTLE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1377 AD to 1850 AD)
  • COUNTRY HOUSE (Post Medieval to Late 20th Century - 1810 AD? to 2000 AD)


Castle, now country house. Built 1377, possibly by Henry Yevele (Harvey), for Warin de Lisle: re-modelled after 1716 for Thomas Parker, Earl of Macclesfield, and his son and also in the early C19. Related to park and gardens around castle (PRN10940).

Associated Monuments

  • None
  • Associated Finds:

  • None
  • Description

    4/152, 14/152 Shirburn Castle
    GV I
    Brick, partly rendered: centre of west front of dressed chalk and limestone. Roof and chimney materials not known. Quandrangular plan with rounded corner towers. Early Perpendicular style, re-modelled in Georgian-style and early C19 Gothick style. 3-storeys; symmetrical 7-window range. Main west front: tall central gate tower is flanked by 2-, extended in C18 to 3-, storey bays: tall corner turrets have 2 windows to front. Double-chamfered 4-centred doorway: studded double doors. Drawbridge leads to C19 steps with flanking cast-iron, lamps across moat. Georgian round-headed openings to sashes, and crenellated parapet. Other elevations also re-modelled in early/mid C18, including sashes and crenellated parapet. C18/early C19 additions and water tower of 1870 attached to south range. Interior: hall has early C18 staircase with fine carved and turned balusters. Armoury re-modelled as vaulted Gothick-style entrance hall in early C19. Re-modelling of c.1830 included building of drawing room and library to north, billiard room converted from old north library over hall, large bedroom and dressing room converted from old dining room to east, and baronial hall left of entry. Smoking room made in north-west tower in 1873. Shirburn Castle is the earliest brick building in Oxfordshire: its plan can be compared with other late C14 castles such as Castle Bodiam, Yorkshire, of 1378, and Bodiam, Sussex,of 1385. The Chamberlain family held the castle for Charles I, before surrender to Sir Thomas Fairfax in 1646. Thomas Parker, Earl of Macclesfield and later Lord Chancellor, bought Shirburn Castle in 1716. The library which he founded includes 2 Caxton editions and the letters of Isaac Newton amongst its famous collection of antique books. The Parkers helped make Shirburn a noted scientific and literary centre in the C18: a pioneering observatory, since demolished, was founded in 1739. Inspection not possible. Description compiled from photographs and published sources.
    (Shirburn park and gardens are included in the HBMC Register of Gardens at Grade II; V.C.H.: Oxfordshire, Vol. VIII, pp. 180-183; Buildings of England: Oxfordshire, pp. 761-2; Shirburn Castle, Country Life, Vol. VII, 1900, pp.80-84; John Harvey, The Perpendicular Style, 1978, p.107; measured drawings of smoking room dated 1873 in National Monuments Record, 19660/46n8-50).
    Listing NGR: SU6966095976
    2) Probable site of C13th manor house of West Shirburn. 1377. Originally 3 drawbridges. Considerable alterations to buildings and surrounding water feature in C18th.
    3-5) Transferred to oxon History Centre.
    6) All info added to this record, so listing discarded.

    <1> Dept of Environment/DCMS, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, South Oxon List 112: 4/152, 14/152, p.62 (Index). SOX260.

    <2> Victoria County History of Oxford, Vol II, p.330; Vol VIII, pp.178-181 (Serial). SOX252.

    <3> General reference, Journal of the Society of Architectual Historians, Vol XL (1981). (Bibliographic reference). SOX373.

    <4> Additional Information in Detailed Record File, Detailed notes and references by C J Bond (1977) and historical notes from G Price (1997) (Index). SOX258.

    <5> Photographic Archive, 1 illustration from Skelton's Oxon (1823) and plan of drains taken in 1903. Xerox copies in DRF (Photograph). SOX304.

    <6> NMR Monument - Long Listing Filed in Detailed Record File, SU 69 NE 4 (Index). SOX391.


    <1>Dept of Environment/DCMS. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. South Oxon List 112: 4/152, 14/152, p.62. [Index / SOX260]
    <2>Victoria County History of Oxford. Vol II, p.330; Vol VIII, pp.178-181. [Serial / SOX252]
    <3>General reference. Journal of the Society of Architectual Historians, Vol XL (1981).. [Bibliographic reference / SOX373]
    <4>Additional Information in Detailed Record File. Detailed notes and references by C J Bond (1977) and historical notes from G Price (1997). [Index / SOX258]
    <5>Photographic Archive. 1 illustration from Skelton's Oxon (1823) and plan of drains taken in 1903. Xerox copies in DRF. [Photograph / SOX304]
    <6>NMR Monument - Long Listing Filed in Detailed Record File. SU 69 NE 4. [Index / SOX391]