Broughton Castle is a moated and fortified manor house near Banbury in North Oxfordshire. Set in parkland and built of the rich local Hornton ironstone, it was selected by Simon Jenkins as one of only twenty to be awarded five stars in his book England’s Thousand Best Houses.
The core of the house was built in 1306 and the gatehouse in the early fifteenth century, but most of what you see today dates from the 1550’s. It was a centre of opposition to Charles I and was besieged and damaged after the Battle of Edgehill in 1642.
Broughton Castle is home to the 21st Lord and Lady Saye & Sele, whose family name is Fiennes. The ownership of the Castle has remained in the same family since 1447.
(Courtesy of BroughtonCastle.com)
If the name Fiennes rings a bell, you are correct. Yes, THOSE Fiennes. Ralph Fiennes, born Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes is an English actor. A noted Shakespeare interpreter, he first achieved success onstage at the Royal National Theatre. You may know him from his movies The English Patient, Schindler’s List and Harry Potter just to name a few. Ralph’s brother Joseph Fiennes Alberic Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes is an English film and stage actor known for his portrayals of William Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love, for which he was nominated for numerous awards.
The history of this home is fascinating and touring this cavernous space was wonderful taste of another era. When we visited with CarexTours in spring, the gardens were just waking up for the season, so learning about the home itself was a wonderful way to spend our day and tied everything together for us, antiquity and horticulture.
The private family church is the first thing to greet you before you get to the gate house. This church dates all the way back to the estates beginnings somewhere between it’s original beginnings in the 1300-1400’s. For the age of the building, it is in incredible condition both inside and out and provided rich information with a cemetery full of the family headstones as well as incredible architecture.
Crossing the moat at the gate house was meant to be intimidating, but our fun group was not going to give in! Carolyn Mullet, one of our tour experts stopped all of her ducklings for a group photo in this huge passage way.
Back in the glory days of this castle, you best never forget who is in charge here as you pass through the entry at the gate house.
As you pass through the gate house into the gravel court entry, there is a barn/car park/cafe building where we were served a fabulous lunch and had way TOO much fun playing with and photographing this incredibly well maintained wisteria.
The view toward the castle from our lunch spot inside was magical.
The beauty herself- Broughton Castle!
After lunch we had to wait a bit for our interior tour so we walked off some of lunch and took in more of the exterior details.
A gorgeous front door to be sure, yet so small relative to the size of this place!
I bet you don’t see these in YOUR neighborhood!
Once inside, we were free to roam the incredible great room.
It was COLD inside the castle!!
The ceiling details throughout the entire castle were incredible!!
The fluted wood paneling on the walls in the dining room were exquisite!
Every window well in the house had lovely displays of all kinds. The view to the garden as we headed upstairs was a treat!
The upstairs hallway was a warm and bright treat after coming up a cold, dark stairwell.
In the Master bedroom, there was a peek-a-boo window that looked down into the mini-private chapel below.
In one of the ladies chambers, an epic relief over the fireplace. Who needs more art……..?
And then you look up at that ceiling!
The wallpaper in the bedroom extended into what would have been the “dressing room”. It was all hand painted and the close up detail was incredible!
We climbed all the way to the VERY top of the castle to a once secret room that was used for planning strategy for war and all manner of intrigue.
Which also means being THAT far up above it all, we also got the chance to climb out onto a hidden rooftop to take in the amazing views!
From a garden tourist perspective, the undisputed crown jewel on this property is of course this epic walled knot garden as seen from above.
Back downstairs and into a room FULL of history. This was a fantastic space that was used as a detailed encyclopedia holding the family history.
Maybe it’s because I’m so short, but I just couldn’t keep my camera off of the incredible ceilings in every space!
Imagine how regal you feel coming through THIS entryway into the less formal yet no less intricate and elegant living room.
Those DETAILS are unbelievable!
A welcoming and cozy room for such a grand castle!
Woodworking artisans had some serious job security working in this home for a long time!
Out into the garden! Though still emerging for spring, you could see how incredible this garden will be in summer.
Peek-a-boo view into the walled garden.
Garden close-ups and researching plants with our phones all over the expansive landscape were a common theme.
Happy CarexTour attendees!
GIANT moss basket filled with honeysuckle getting ready to bloom!
Beautiful Centaurea beginning to bloom for spring!
And rugosa roses just peeking out too!
This feminine little flower was emerging up through the barberry, I’m not quite sure what it was though. It looked resembled Lily of the Valley, but didn’t have the classic foliage to go with it. If you recognize it, leave a comment and I’ll add the plant ID to this one.
The blue tones of Monkshood are shooting up toward the sky as the temperatures warm up.
The lichen on the low border walls is SO decorative!
And back out into the English countryside to visit another garden on our tour for part three. Stay tuned, we heading to the elegant Pettifers!!
Check out CarexTours here for more information on upcoming trips to gardens like this!