Sudeley Castle

The Loveliest Castle in England?

Chapter 6 : Civil War & Restoration of Sudeley

The Chandos family were committed Royalists. The 6th Lord Chandos fought in the King’s Army and the Castle became a base for King Charles’ nephew and chief commander, Prince Rupert of the Rhine. King Charles himself took refuge there – together with his “camp(aign) bed” which went with him everywhere and was found and brought back to Sudeley in the 19th century. 

Not really surprising he lost the war – a small battalion was probably needed to carry his gear!

The castle was besieged, captured and looted by the Roundheads in 1643. The family returned after the successful Royalist attack on nearby Cirencester. However, the castle fell again to the Parliamentarians and in 1644 it was “slighted” (ie, made indefensible by the removal of the roof.) The castle was abandoned for nearly two hundred years.

The castle was sold in 1837 to the Dent brothers, wealthy and successful glove-makers. They began restoration, but the whole, long process was mainly overseen by the next owners, The Dent brothers' nephew, John, and his wife Emma Brocklehurst. Emma Dent devoted her life to the care and restoration of the estate, which was eventually inherited by her nephew, whose descendants are still in residence.

The castle has been open to the public since the 1960s and is a marvellous example of how a sensitive restoration and interpretation of an historic site can bring the past alive. It is not hard to imagine Queen Katherine Parr walking through the gardens, her prayer book in hand, stopping from time to time to smell the roses she loved.