DiCamillo Companion

Lulworth Castle (Lulworth Castle House)

  • Built / Designed For: Thomas Howard, 3rd Viscount Blindon

    House & Family History: Built in the late 16th and early 17th centuries as a hunting lodge in hopes of attracting the king, James I, Lulworth Castle was purchased in 1641 by Humphrey Weld, and it remained the Weld family seat until 1929, when the house was gutted by fire. Over the years the Welds enhanced and enlarged the lodge, turning it into a proper country house by the 18th century. It was possibly during the ownership of Thomas Weld, a friend of George III (who was entertained here), that the house reached its zenith, with luscious Adam Style interiors and a rich collection of art and books. After the fire devastated the castle, a combination of high death duties and agricultural depressions postponed restoration work for over 60 years; it wasn't until the 1990s, with the assistance of English Heritage, that the castle was stabilized and its exterior restored; the interior was left as a partially restored ruin. In 1998 the restored Lulworth Castle opened to the public. In 1977, after determining that a full restoration of the castle would be impractical and too expensive, the Weld family completed a new house on the estate (a former manor house that was enlarged), Lulworth Castle House, as their new seat. The house, which is located 200 yards from Lulworth Castle, is open regularly, together with the gardens. In August of 1830, after the July Revolution overthrew him, King Charles X of France and his family lived at Lulworth, after which they moved to Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh. In Brookline, Massachusetts, in suburban Boston, the Larz Anderson Estate was originally developed as a farm in the 17th century by the Weld family; in 1899 the estate came into the ownership of socialite and heiress Isabel Weld Perkins and her diplomat husband, Larz Anderson. The Andersons built Weld on the estate, a 25-room mansion whose design was based on Lulworth Castle (see photos of the Larz Anderson garden in the "Images" section).

    Collections: Hans Holbein II's "Allegory of the Fall and Redemption of Man" was sold to the National Gallery of Scotland in 1981. Joos van Cleve's "Madonna and Child Enthroned" was sold to the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, in 1981.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: The stables have been converted into a gallery to house the art collection (marbles, furniture, and paintings) that the Welds inherited when Ince Blundell in Lancashire was left to them.

    Chapel & Church: The Chapel of St. Mary (see "Images" section), built 1786-87 to the designs of John Tasker for Thomas Weld, is considered one of the finest buildings in Dorset. The first free standing Roman Catholic church to be built in England since the Reformation, its erection was supposedly only allowed by George III under the condition that the exterior of the building not look like a church. The chapel is a domed Neoclassical building in the temple style. Inside are four half-domed apsidal wings and a marble altar brought from Rome. Howard Colvin on the chapel: "It is a building of considerable architectural merit in an elegant neo-classical style reminiscent of Wyatt."

  • Architect: John Tasker

    Date: 1786-87
    Designed: The Chapel of St. Mary for for Thomas Weld

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    Architect: Bastard Family

    Date: Circa 1727-58
    Designed: Redecorated and refurnished interiors for Edward Weld

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  • John Bernard (J.B.) Burke, published under the title of A Visitation of the Seats and Arms of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland, among other titles: 2.S. Vol. II, p. 32, 1855.

    John Preston (J.P.) Neale, published under the title of Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, among other titles: 2.S. Vol. IV, 1828.

    Country Life: LIX, 52, 1926. LXVI, 330, 1929.

  • Title: Disintegration of a Heritage: Country Houses and their Collections, 1979-1992, The
    Author: Sayer, Michael
    Year Published: 1993
    Publisher: Norfolk: Michael Russell (Publishing)
    ISBN: 0859551970
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - SOFTBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 1995
    Reference: pg. 109
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 0300072074
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Johansens Historic Houses, Castles & Gardens, 2000
    Author: NA
    Year Published: 1999
    Publisher: London: Johansens Ltd.
    ISBN: 1860177166
    Book Type: Softback

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Grade II

  • "Five on a Treasure Island" (1957). "A Hazard of Hearts" (1987 - TV movie). "Antiques Roadshow" (2011-12 - TV, episodes 34.3 & 34.18, "Lulworth Castle 1 & 2").
  • Current Seat / Home of: Weld family; here since 1641.

    Past Seat / Home of: Thomas Howard, 3rd Viscount Howard of Bindon, 17th century; Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk, 1609-26; James Howard, 3rd Earl of Suffolk, until 1641. Humphrey Weld, 17th century; Edward Weld, until 1761; Thomas Bartholomew Weld, until 1810.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Visitor Attraction

    Ownership Details: The Weld Estate owns the castle and Lulworth Castle House

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 01929-400-352

    Fax: 01929-400-563

    Email: [email protected]

    Website: https://lulworth.com/

    Awards: Recipient of an award from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors for excellence in building conservation for the restoration of Lulworth Castle.

    Historic Houses Member: Yes