four-centered arch

Astwell Castle

Astwell Castle is a manor house in Northamptonshire, England begun by Thomas Lovett, who acquired the estate in 1471: the embattled gatehouse tower with the lower attachment to the left is of his time. To the west a large courtyard house with over forty rooms accumulated under later owners in the Lovett and Shirley families in the 16th and 17th centuries, of which only a fragment survives. It still has mullioned windows with arched lights, suggesting a 16th rather than 17th century date. Inside is a fireplace with a broad frieze of simple geometrical motifs above the four-centered arch. Early 18th century drawings show ranges added against both the west and south sides of the house which were built up to or over the moat. These may be related to infilling the moat and setting out a garden with formal terraces on the south and east sides of the house. A deer park was created in 1547. The Shirleys, who were ennobled as Earls Ferrers in 1677, ceased to live at Astwell in the 18th century. It was sold in 1763 and most of the buildings were demolished shortly afterwards. The south range was altered in the 19th century and again in 1957 when the house was remodelled and the roof timbers were replaced.


  • Heward & Taylor, The country houses of Northamptonshire, 1996, pp. 69-72
  • Pevsner & Cherry, The Buildings of England: Northamptonshire, 1973, p.96

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