Category: castles

Château de Chaumont

Château de Chaumont is located in Chaumont-sur-Loire, France. The castle was constructed on the left bank overlooking the Loire River. Built in the 10thcentury by Odo I, Count of Blois, the original castle was destroyed by order of King Louis XI in 1495, due to an unsuccessful rebellion by Pierre d’Amboise. The Renaissance castle was rebuilt in the 15th century by Pierre’s son, Charles I d’Amboise. Charles I, added the north and west wings in a Gothic defensive style, with a wall-walk and dry moats. Catherine de Medici purchased the castle in 1550 and upon the death of her husband King Henry II, she forced his mistress Diane de Poitiers to accept the castle in exchange for Château de Chenonceau. The castle eventually passed to the Duke of Bouillon and continued to change ownership numerous times throughout its history. The comte d’Aramon purchased the château in 1833 and began to renovate the neglected castle; he even added a museum for medieval arts. The castle boasts round crenelated towers, conical roofs, a 16thcentury chapel, a courtyard, and an ornamental garden. The sugar heiress, the Princess of Broglie purchased the castle in 1875; her husband added the luxury stables in 1877. The family also updated the castle and replanted the English-style garden. Due to financial difficulties, she was forced to sell the castle in 1938 to the State. In 2007, the estate was transferred to the French government. The castle is open to the public and serves as a museum.

Larnach Castle

Larnach Castle is located on the ridge of the Otago Peninsula in Dunedin, New Zealand. Entrepreneur and politician, William Larnach, built the Gothic Revival castle in 1871. After William’s death, the following legal battles over his will had the Larnach family selling the home in 1906. During the 20thcentury, the property changed hands numerous times and underwent updates, but by 1967 the castle was in poor condition. The castle had been used as an insane asylum, a hospital for shell-shocked soldiers, and a nuns’ retreat. The castle was then purchased by the Barker family, who restored the castle, added the award-winning gardens, and retrieved some of the original period furnishings for the home. The forty-three-room castle boasts exposed verandahs, a 3,000 square foot ballroom, and intricately carved ceilings, which took years to complete. The castle sits on 35 acres, which includes a variety of gardens, a stable with six guest rooms, and a lodge that has twelve themed rooms. Larnach Castle serves as a tourist attraction and is open to the public for tours, events, and weddings. The castle offers a gift shop, a café, and beautiful tower views.

Rosenborg Castle

Rosenborg Castle is located in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Dutch Renaissance castle was originally built for Scandinavian King, Christian IV, as a country summerhouse in 1606, and was expanded upon until 1624. The castle served as a royal residence and was used by Danish regents until about 1710, after this point, it was only used as a royal residence twice, once in 1794 and again in 1801. The Long Hall was originally intended as a ballroom, but it was used as a Royal Reception Room and for banquets in the early 18thcentury; the name changed to The Knights Hall in the 19thcentury. The castle boasts a museum of artifacts that includes stucco ceilings, frescoes, wax figures of former royal inhabitants, Venetian glass collections set in tower chambers, Denmark’s Crown Jewels, Danish Crown Regalia, relief sculpture, and tapestries depicting historical events and battles. The Long Hall also houses the coronation chair of the Danish Kings. The Rosenborg Castle Garden is the country’s oldest royal garden and was embellished by King Christian IV before he had the main castle built. The Royal Life Guard garrison guards the castle; their barracks are located next to the castle. The castle is currently owned by the state. Rosenborg Castle is open to the public. 

Tattershall Castle

Tattershall Castle is located in Tattershall in Lincolnshire, England. Robert de Tattershall built the medieval stone tower in 1231. The castle boasted a great hall, kitchens, gatehouse, chapel, and a curtain wall surrounded by a moat. The castle passed to the third Baron of Cromwell in the early 15thcentury. Lord Cromwell refurbished the estate while adding the great tower, the stables, the kitchens, and the guardhouse. Lord Cromwell enlarged the inner moat and an outer moat was created. The stables are housed between the outer moat and inner moat. With Cromwell’s death, the castle passed to the Crown who continued to grant the property to loyal and familial subjects. Charles Brandon was given the castle by King Henry VIII to thank him for assisting in stopping the Lincolnshire Rising. Brandon had the castle transformed into a Tudor palace and installed a tiltyard to practice jousting. The castle was later inherited by the Earls of Lincoln and remained in their possession for 120 years. In 1643, the castle was damaged during the Civil War, which left only the Great Tower intact. The Earl of Lincoln died in 1693, and the castle was left derelict. In 1911, Lord Curzon of Kedleston purchased the castle. Lord Curzon restored the castle, even going so far to repurchase the gothic fireplaces that had been removed. After his passing in 1925, the castle was left to the National Trust. The castle houses one of the world’s largest art and heritage collections, which includes over one million historic pieces including paintings, gothic fireplaces, and tapestries. Tattershall Castle is open to the public. There is a shop offering refreshments inside the old guardhouse. 

Totnes Castle

Totnes Castle is located in the town of Totnes in Devonshire, England. The Norman motte and bailey style castle was built in the 14thcentury on the Dart River upon a large hill that overlooks the town and three valleys. There was an earlier 11thcentury structure on the site made of wood, which likely held a palisade and a tower. Juhel of Totnes, who was one of William the Conqueror’s lieutenants, built the 11th century structure. The castle changed hands and the feudal barony of Totnes was given to Roger de Nonant. Nonant’s family held the castle for several generations. The stone keep and walls were built by owner, William de Braose, 3rdLord of Bramber. By 1326, the castle had fallen into ruin under ownership of the de la Zouch family and a royal order was given to repair the fortifications. The castle was repaired with Devonian limestone and red sandstone, a new stable was constructed at this time, and a constable was appointed. Totnes Castle was used as a garrison during the Civil War, but it was evacuated before the arrival of Parliamentary forces and saw no action. Unfortunately, the castle fell into ruin again. Totnes Castle is open to the public and has a castle shop.

Aljafería Palace

Aljafería Palace is located in Zaragoza, Spain. The medieval Islamic palace was built in the 11thcentury. The palace was completed by Abu Jaffar Al-Muqtadir during the Banu Hud dynasty and served as his residence. After the reconquest of Zaragoza in 1118 by Alfonso of Aragon, the palace became the residence of the Christian kings of Aragon and was used as a royal residence. In 1492, the palace served as a luxury hotel for Catholic Monarchs, and in 1593, it served as a military fortress. The palace underwent sieges, which caused considerable damage. The palace was restored in the 20thcentury. The palace is 70 X 70 meters and surrounded by a wall and round towers. The oldest structure is the Troubadour Tower from the 9thcentury. This tower is a defensive structure with a quadrangular base and five levels. The castle also holds a mosque, elaborately carved north and south porticos, and the Chapel of San Martín, which was built by the Aragonese Christians in the mid 14thcentury and done in the Gothic Mudejar style. In the 15thcentury, the Catholic Monarchs had a new north wing constructed, which houses the throne room with its coffered ceiling and several waiting rooms for those wishing an audience with the king. The floors of these rooms are made of ceramic alfardones tiles. The palace boasts interlacing arches, carved stucco ornamentation, and taifa art. Currently, the palace houses the Parliament of Aragon. Aljafería Palace is open to the public at select times and dates. te

Lancaster Castle

Lancaster Castle is located in Lancaster, England. The medieval castle is believed to have been built in the 11thcentury upon an old Roman fort from 79 AD and overlooks a crossing of the River Lune. The castle became part of the Earldom of Northumbria in the second half of the 11thcentury and was claimed by the kings of England and Scotland. The castle was used as a prison in the late 12thcentury and was rebuilt in costly stone in the 13thcentury. The Duke of Lancaster ascended to the throne as King Henry IV in 1399, and he immediately had a formidable gatehouse built on the property. After this point in history, the castle remained under ownership of the Crown. The castle underwent a Scottish invasion in 1389 and was strengthened in 1585. During England’s Civil War, a small group of Parliamentarian forces captured the castle in 1643. The Royalists sent an army to retake Lancaster Castle and failed, which allowed the Parliamentarian forces to retain control of the castle until the end of the civil war. In 1660, with the monarchy restored, the prisoners in the castle were released and repairs were made. The castle has been used as a prison from 1554-2011. The Lancaster court sentenced more people to death than any other in England, and was known to hold high-security trials. The last execution took place in 1910, but the prison was closed in 1916. The castle was used to train police officers from 1931-1937, but was designated and used as a prison again from 1954-2011. The prison finally closed, as it was outdated and too expensive to repair. The property boasts the 11thcentury keep, towers, battlements, dungeons, a castle courtyard, a 66-foot gatehouse, a café, and the Shire Hall courthouse. The keep is four stories tall, with each floor divided into two rooms. Refurbishment on the castle has been ongoing since 2011. Lancaster castle is one of the oldest standing buildings in Lancaster. It is open to the public.

Christiansborg Palace

Christiansborg Palace is located in Copenhagen, Denmark. The first castle on this site was Absalon Castle built in 1167 by Bishop Absalon. The castle was demolished in 1370 and replaced by Copenhagen Castle in the late 14thcentury. Copenhagen Castle was rebuilt several times, but it began to crack under the weight and so a new castle was built on the site. The First Castle Christiansborg was a baroque palace that was completed in 1745, but the palace and church were ruined by fire in 1794. The Second Christiansborg Castle began in 1803 and was done in a French Empire style. The castle was finished by 1828, but King Frederick VI decided against living there and only used the palace for entertainment. King Frederick VII was the only monarch to live in the castle. Unfortunately, the castle was destroyed by fire in 1884. The current Christiansborg Palace was built from 1907-1928 and serves as a palace and a government center. It is the seat of the Danish Parliament, the Danish Prime Minister’s Office, and the Supreme Court of Denmark. Christiansborg Palace is the only building in the world to house all three branches of government in the same building. The castle boasts Royal Reception Rooms, the Great Hall with its tapestries, the Palace Chapel, the Royal Kitchen, the Royal Stables, and the ruins beneath the palace. The 17 colorful tapestries represent the Viking Age to the year 2000 and cover 1,100 years of Danish history. Several parts of the palace are open to the public.

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle is located in Dublin, Ireland. The castle complex serves as a major Irish Government center and a tourist attraction. The castle was built for defense by King John of England and was largely completed by 1230. The castle was designed in a Norman courtyard style with a central square, flanked by defensive walls that were protected at each corner with a circular tower. Through the middle ages, the castle’s structure was altered with additions added, although not all the additions remain today. The castle survived a fire in 1684 and was transformed into a Georgian palace. The majority of the medieval buildings remain under ground today with the exception of the Record and Bermingham Towers, which are the sole surviving towers from the original fortification. The castle boasts State apartments in the upper yard buildings, a Throne room, a State drawing room, a State dining room, State bedrooms, a State corridor, and Saint Patrick’s Hall, which was once a ballroom, but is currently used for presidential inaugurations. The opulent Royal Chapel was completed in 1814 and opened on Christmas Day. The chapel was the third chapel in the castle and the second in this location. The crypt of the Royal Chapel is now used as an art center. The Chester Beatty Library houses the Silk Road Café, while the Treasury Building houses a police museum. Dublin Castle is open to the public. 

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle is located in Dublin, Ireland. The castle complex serves as a major Irish Government center and a tourist attraction. The castle was built for defense by King John of England and was largely completed by 1230. The castle was designed in a Norman courtyard style with a central square, flanked by defensive walls that were protected at each corner with a circular tower. Through the middle ages, the castle’s structure was altered with additions added, although not all the additions remain today. The castle survived a fire in 1684 and was transformed into a Georgian palace. The majority of the medieval buildings remain under ground today with the exception of the Record and Bermingham Towers, which are the sole surviving towers from the original fortification. The castle boasts State apartments in the upper yard buildings, a Throne room, a State drawing room, a State dining room, State bedrooms, a State corridor, and Saint Patrick’s Hall, which was once a ballroom, but is currently used for presidential inaugurations. The opulent Royal Chapel was completed in 1814 and opened on Christmas Day. The chapel was the third chapel in the castle and the second in this location. The crypt of the Royal Chapel is now used as an art center. The Chester Beatty Library houses the Silk Road Café, while the Treasury Building houses a police museum. Dublin Castle is open to the public.