I drove over to West Sussex early in the morning of 14th July – what I hadn’t realised was that it was also a ‘History Day’ so there were lots of stalls and medieval knights and their ladies wandering around. Annoyingly, it also meant that I couldn’t use my Historic House’s card to get entry into the gardens! It’s changed a lot since J.C. Loudon wrote about his visit in The Gardener’s Magazine of 1829: [it was] ‘an excellent place for a critic, since there is much to condemn’.

The Castle is in the middle of the town of Arundel – use the pay and display Car Park opposite the Castle entrance.

Outside the 14th century Fitzalan Chapel is the White Garden

The Rose Garden is on the site of the bowling green.

The Collector Earl’s Garden (photos below) was opened to the public in May, 2008 by the Prince of Wales. It was designed by Isabel and Julian Bannerman and takes its name from the Duke’s (and mine!) seventeenth century ancestor, Thomas Howard, the 14th Earl of Arundel who was an avid art collector. As a leading Catholic, the earl went into self-imposed exile in Italy where he died in Padua in 1646. His remains were later returned home and interred in the FitzAlan Chapel.

The History of Arundel Castle

Roger de Montgomery was given land in the Welsh Marches and one fifth of Sussex for his loyalty to his cousin William the Conqueror. After de Montgomery’s death, the motte and double bailey Castle reverted to the Crown under Henry I. In his Will, Henry I left the estate to his second wife Adeliza of Louvain for the rest of her life and she remarried in 1138, William d’Albini II. d’Albini was made Earl of Arundel in 1155 by Henry II and given the Honour and Castle of Arundel. Although Arundel Castle has reverted to the Crown several times since 1138, it has descended directly from the d’Albinis to the present Duke. The Castle was remodelled between 1877 and 1904 by Charles Alban Buckler for 15th Duke and again in 1975-8 for the 17th Duke.

To the left of the Cathedral is Oberon’s Palace which is made from green oak and is based on one of Inigo Jones’ set-designs for Prince Henry’s Masque on New Year’s Day 1611.  The inside of the Palace is lined with mussel shells designed as vases and orange trees while on the top of the fountain dances a crown.

There’s a cafe and shop on site.


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