Arundel Castle is one of the oldest and grandest castles in the United Kingdom. A year after William the Conqueror invaded England at Hastings he visited Arundel where he gave a huge amount of land to his best pal Roger de Montgomery. In return he asked him to build a stone fortification to defend the English coast from other invaders.
The Origins of Arundel Castle
Roger de Montgomery lived up to expectations! Some of the original parts of the first keep still stand! What’s more, it’s been the same family inhabiting the castle since the 12th century, which is simply jaw dropping. I find it mind boggling that the same family owned the same structure for so long. Even more because on my father’s side of the family almost every one of my male ancestors had to move from one town to another for seven generations.
I arrived at the castle early afternoon and it was a big mistake! The castle covers thousands of square meters and there is also the garden and the cathedral to look at. In retrospect I should have arrived at 10 AM on the dot for the opening time – even that wouldn’t have been enough to look around properly.
The Castle’s History in a Nutshell
William de Albini moved in around 1176 and ever since then the castle has been in the ownership of his descendants. His great-grand daughther married John Fitzalan, whose son became the first Earl of Arundel. His great-great granddaughter married Thomas de Mowbray. He in turn was the great grandson of Edward I, King of England between 1272-1307. Now you can imagine that the Arundel family is no small fish in the aristocratic sea of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
By the way, since at least the 15th century the head of the family is also the Earl Marshall of England. This brings the responsibility of organising the Queen’s or King’s weddings, funerals, engagements and everything else in between. Basically, the Earl Marshall is the party planner for the royalty. I guess if you become close friends with the Earl of Arundel you are only one step away from the Queen or King…
But here is a twist: the head of the Anglican Church, the Queen/King of the country and Empire was married off by a Catholic! That’s because the Earl is a defender of the Catholic faith! And the Earl’s family could keep all the estates and chapels as a favour by Henry VIII when he basically pillaged all Catholic estates in the 16th century. That’s something!
If you enjoyed this post and want to read a similar story, scroll down to see the related posts section. My Youtube Channel also contains several other videos. I shot them during my trips to Russia, Australia, Turkey, Europe and various other parts of the world.