Belvoir Castle

Leicestershire, England

City/Town/Village: Belvoir
District: Melton
County: Leicestershire
Latitude/Longitude: 52.8947, -0.782523
Postcode: NG32 1PD
(postcode is for sat-nav purposes only, and may not represent the actual address of the castle)


Privately Owned

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Belvoir Castle was originally a Norman earthwork motte and bailey fortress, founded by Robert de Todeni, le Fundeur. In 1267, Robert de Ros founded the stone castle, when he was granted a licence to crenellate. Its layout is depicted on a medieval seal, showing the motte supporting a shell keep, with a large central square tower. In 1461 during the Wars of the Roses, this Lancastrian fortress was partially dismantled and left to decay, rebuilt by the Manners family, it was slighted after the Civil War. In the 19th century, the total reconstruction of the castle and grounds destroyed the medieval fortress but it left us with a dramatic Gothic revival castle, dominating the Vale of Belvoir.

Belvoir Castle is a Listed Building. Here's what the official description says about it:


15/186 Belvoir Castle


Norman castle, rebuilt C16, demolished 1649, rebuilt 1655-68 on a courtyard
plan. Remodelled 1801-30 by James Wyatt supervised by Sir John Thoroton
retaining courtyard disposition. A fire in 1816 destroyed north and east
wings which were rebuilt by Thoroton, Wyatt having died 1813. Thoroton
completed Wyatt's standing wings. Decorations by Benjamin Dean Wyatt and
Philip Wyatt and others of Wyatt studio. Exterior. Ironstone with
limestone dressings and slate roofs. Irregular plan with asymmetrical
facades in Romantic Mixed Gothic style. 4 corner towers mark extent of
medieval and Tudor building and have some surviving masonry. Entrance
front to north formed of a 3 bay porte cochere extending from main wall by
a long covered corridor. Main elevation accommodates King's Rooms
terminating to either side with 3-4 storey square towers with angle
buttresses and machicolated and crenellated parapets. Windows here as
elsewhere mainly upright cross casements. West front has in its principal
floor the Regent's Gallery extending from the square corner tower to the
chapel. Massive circular 3 storey tower on 2 storey basement rises to left
to terminate in crenellated parapet: 5 window bays with round heads and
deeply splayed basement windows. Chapel has 3 bay loggia between polygonal
full height turrets and, above loggia, 3 2-light Perpendicular windows of
ecclesiastical character. Rectangular tower with oriel closes facade to
south-west, this also crenellated and with a circular bartizan. Simpler
south front with central full height canted bay with 4 bays right and left.
Crenellated parapets as usual. Massive square south-east tower (the
Staunton Tower) with considerable medieval masonry survival to lower
storeys. Rectangular stair turret to left. East front dominated by
gigantic rectangular tower by Thoroton extending from inner courtyard to
project by 3 bays from facade, then to form a canted end. Deeply splayed
basement windows, zig-zag Norman decoration to first floor windows, stepped
buttresses at intervals. Crenellated parapet bristles with circular
crenellated towers and, at the inner north corner (in the courtyard) a
large bartizan tower extending higher still. Range to left (next to
Staunton Tower) comprises Chinese Rooms, range to right the Grand Dining
Room. Inner courtyard of trapezoid shape, tapering to the south. All
sides except south are 2 distinct ranges thick. North end is the Picture
Gallery (behind King's Rooms), west side is the Library (behind Regent's
Gallery and Chapel), east side is the Grand Corridor or Ballroom (behind
Chinese Rooms). Round castle are outer walls with round crenellated
towers at intervals. Guarding approach from north-west is the Battery, the
base of a triangular masonry fortification of Norman origin. Interior.
Rooms are mostly Gothic, modelled by Thoroton on Lincoln Cathedral.
Entrance leads to Guardroom: 2 storeys with flat lierne vault and open 4-
centred arches with dog-tooth giving views to Grand Staircase. Double
flights of staircase entered through Perpendicular full height doorway.
Grand Staircase with wrought iron balusters and infill leads to low
tierceron vaulted landing with many 4-centred arches and piers. Similar,
but more restrained, staircase rises behind Thoroton's east tower and leads
to Grand Corridor: 3 paired arches of C13 type with traceried spandrels
based on Lincoln Cathedral. Engaged wall columns support lierne vault.
Chinese Rooms lead off the Corridor with much gilt plasterwork in ceiling.
The Elizabeth Saloon is in Thoroton's tower. Decoration 1824 by M.C.
Wyatt: Louis Quatorze style with ceiling painting of Triumph of Juno by
Wyatt. Elaborate gilt coving and carved gilt boiserie to walls. Grand
Dining Room to north, by Benjamin and Philip Wyatt: wall arches in Roman
mode on marble piers and with gilt boiserie; coffered ceiling. Picture
Gallery by Benjamin and Philip Wyatt: heavy coved cornice on scrolled
consoles below 3 floating groin vaults, in the arches of which are
Diocletian windows. The Regent's Gallery, by James Wyatt, is the old Long
Gallery elaborated by the large west bay to his tower. Gilt cornices,
fireplace by M. C. Wyatt. Chapel has lierne vault and attenuated Gothick
panelling with gabled ogee arches. There are many other subsidiary rooms.
Christopher Hussey, Country Life December 6, 13, 20, 27 December 1956.

Listing NGR: SK8200133719

Information from British Listed Buildings

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