Published November 2011
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Arundel Castle is a great Norman and mediaeval fortification, built after 1067 to the same plan and at the same time as Windsor. Its revival as a country house in the late-Georgian era added one of the most original and best-preserved Gothic interiors, while the late 19th-century reconstruction of the residential part makes it the largest and grandest Victorian house in England. It is also one of the longest continuously inhabited houses in Britain, the Dukes of Norfolk and their ancestors having lived here for over eight hundred years, since 1138. This book by Dr John Martin Robinson, the present Duke's librarian and archivist, is both a detailed history and a guided tour of the castle. It traces the entire architectural history of the site from the year after the Battle of Hastings to the present day.
Often assumed to be mainly a Victorian reconstruction, Arundel preserves as much or more of its Norman original as many of the ruined castles thought to be more 'genuine'. It has a largely intact series of massive 11th-century earthworks, including an impressive motte, a stone gatehouse dating from 1070, an almost complete 11th- and 12th-century curtain wall, a perfect shell keep erected in 1140 and a very well preserved barbican of about 1300. Within this framework, on the site of the mediaeval domestic quarters in the south bailey and giving Arundel its dramatic skyline, is the largest Victorian Gothic Revival house in existence - yet even this great 19th-century pile incorporates both the two-storeyed shell and vaulted undercroft of a palace built by Henry II in around 1180 and the vast library built by the 11th Duke's team of Cumberland craftsmen in 1800.
The author deals with the entire, long history of Arundel and its owners; the inheritance by the Howards from the Fitzalans in the16th century and subsequent vicissitudes, including a siege in the Civil War, not forgetting such domestic aspects as Queen Victoria's visit in 1846. The guided tour covers every room of interest: the private family accommodation as well as the better known parts open to the public, with full details of the superb collections of furniture, books, silver and paintings.
This definitive study, based on profound scholarship and original research, is remarkably readable and entertaining. Well illustrated, it will appeal to a wide readership among non-specialists and visitors, as well as providing the standard work for many years to come.