To Top

Royal Heritage: Barnwell Manor and Castle

Located outside of Barnwell, near Oundle in Northamptonshire stands Barnwell Manor.

The Manor is situated on the grounds of the ruined Castle of Barnwell and was the country home of The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.


Built in 1266, Barnwell Castle was a simple, rectangle enclosed by 30 feet high and 12 feet thick curtain walls. The castle had immense circular towers at each corner. Twin drum towers formed the gatehouse.

All the buildings contained within the courtyard including the Great Hall were destroyed. Outside of the Castle is evidence of an outer court surrounded by earthworks. There is also evidence of a motte and bailey of an older castle, although sources claim it to be a group of fish ponds.

Barnwell was built by Berenger le Moyne. He sold the Castle in 1276 to the Benedictine Abbey of Ramsey. With the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536, the Abbey was confiscated.

In 1540, the Castle and land were given to the Montagu family by King Henry VIII.

An Elizabethan manor house adjacent to the Castle was built in 1586 and became the primary residence.

The Castle remained a family residence into the late 17th Century. Around 1704 its living quarters were destroyed.

The Montagu association ended in 1913 with the removal of Barnwell by the Earl of Dalkeith. The Earl would later become the Duke of Buccleuch. He was also the father of the future Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester.

The Duchess of Gloucester would see her husband, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, purchase the Manor and Estate in 1938.

The 40 room, Grade II Manor contains seven bedrooms, six bathrooms and four reception rooms.

In January 1995, The Gloucesters left the house as it was costly to maintain. They leased Barnwell to Berenger Antiques. The Gloucesters retained the estate, but they reside solely in an apartment at Kensington Palace.

Photo Credit: Will Lovell [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

More in Blog Posts